Satellite data reveals bonds between emissions, pollution and economy

The city of Denver, Colorado, blanketed by smog. Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Burning fossil fuels has long powered world economies while contributing to air pollution and the buildup of greenhouse gases. A new analysis of nearly two decades of satellite data shows that economic development, fossil-fuel combustion and air quality are closely linked on […]

Managing salt pollution to protect drinking water resources and freshwater ecosystems

The Occoquan Reservoir supplies water to some two million people in Northern Virginia.  Credit: Stanley Grant Doctors often tell us, “cut back on your salt.” And just as too much dietary salt is bad for blood pressure, too much salt in our nation’s streams, lakes, and reservoirs threatens ecosystem health and the security of our […]

What the pandemic can teach us about ways to reduce air pollution

The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t just a shock to the human immune system. It was also a shock to the Earth system, dramatically changing the air quality in cities around the globe. As countries around the globe struggled to contain the disease, they imposed temporary shutdowns. Scientists are now sifting through data collected by satellite and […]

To Make Better Hurricane Models, Consider Air Pollution

Hurricane Harvey shocked the world in 2017 when it stalled over Houston, defying hurricane models and dumping 1.25 meters of rain onto the city. According to new research by a team of atmospheric scientists, a previously unaccounted for variable helped to drive the deluge: industrial air pollution. To investigate the role of air […]

Sinking Fish May Fast-Track Mercury Pollution to the Deep Sea

Mercury pollution at Earth’s surface is leaving a mark on the deepest parts of the ocean. A new study suggests that sinking fish carcasses transport the element to seafloor ecosystems. “Mercury is not limited to the upper thousand meters of the ocean, as we once thought.” “Mercury is not limited to the upper […]

Can countries end overfishing and plastic pollution in just 10 years?

Credit: Artem Mishukov/Shutterstock In my career as a marine biologist, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit some of the most remote islands in the world. These beautiful places continue to remind me why I have this job in the first place, but they also bring home the pervasive influence of human societies. Uninhabited bird colonies […]

Researchers found signs of human pollution in animals living six miles beneath the sea

Researchers found mercury in creatures dwelling at the deepest areas of the ocean. (Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas. /) Tens of thousands of feet below the surface, deep-sea fish and crustaceans thrive amidst extreme pressure, freezing cold, and absolute darkness. Food is scarce […]

Plastic pollution is everywhere. Study reveals how it travels

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain Plastic pollution is ubiquitous today, with microplastic particles from disposable goods found in natural environments throughout the globe, including Antarctica. But how those particles move through and accumulate in the environment is poorly understood. Now a Princeton University study has revealed the mechanism by which microplastics, like Styrofoam, and particulate pollutants […]

How air pollution affects homeless populations — ScienceDaily

When air quality worsens, either from the smoke and ozone of summer or the inversion of winter, most of us stay indoors. But for individuals experiencing homelessness, that’s not always an option. In a new study, researchers from the University of Utah document the effect of air pollution on people experiencing homelessness, finding that nearly […]