Tuesday, October 12
The map, based on 18 months’ worth of satellite data, shows very high levels of NO2 above major European and North American cities and across much of north-east China. South-east Asia and Africa also have raised concentrations of the gas due to their burning of vegetation.
|The image reveals pollution hotspots above cities and even shipping lanes. CLICK for full view (Image: University of Heidelberg)|
But perhaps more surprising are the oceans. “Ship tracks are visible in some locations,” says Steffen Beirle, one of the research team at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. “Look at the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean between the southern tip of India and Indonesia.”
Although NO2 is formed naturally by lightning and by microbes in the ground, it is also released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels by power plants, heavy industry and vehicles. Large quantities of the gas can cause respiratory problems and lung damage, and can also contribute to harmful ozone forming near ground level.
If you look closely, you can see the pollution from the Tar Sands in Fort McMurray Alberta doesn't hold a candle to what the Chinese are doing.