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Thread: Snow+Polution?

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    nepenthes_ak's Avatar
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    Snow+Polution?

    My 8th grade Physical science teacher had told me that the pollution can be lowered with lower temperatures.

    I lived in Alaska at the time. He explained that the air was cleaner because 1) their wasn't as much pollution. 2) what ever pollution was their went away with the cold weather (-10's and mostly bellow freezing temps in the winter)

    I have been thinking about Acid rain. Its polluted rain, so does snow just bring all the pollutants down with it?

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    scottychaos's Avatar
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    how does pollution "go away" with cold weather??
    that makes no sense..

    the pollution that is already there cant "go away" just by lowering temps..
    it will still be there..

    perhaps he meant that cold air holds less water vapor, so cold air can carry less pollution TO alaska from elsewhere?..less pollution than the air would carry if it was warmer?? hmmm..maybe.

    Scot

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    Nepenthes Specialist nepenthes gracilis's Avatar
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    Where did he go to college? (if at all) lol

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    nepenthes_ak's Avatar
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    I dont remember that was 4 years ago, and i didnt care. Hard to tell if thats EXACTLy what he said.

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    He's slightly right, actually. Pollution comes in a lot of forms, one particularly nasty one being airborne particulate matter of various sorts, which is a major component of smog and can cause all sorts of respiratory nastiness.

    Now, the key to his statement is that both snowflakes and raindrops typically form around a central nucleus of airborne dust. If this nucleus is pollution, it becomes trapped in the raindrop/snowflake, which lands and eventually washes away. It doesn't destroy the pollution, but it does relocate it from the air to the soil or the water. This can, in some cases, neutralize it, because plenty of things are noxious as air-borne particles but harmless otherwise - even dust from wheat and corn. Pollutants also may have more chance of being degraded in the soil or water due to the actions of plants or microbes.

    Mokele
    \"With malleus aforethought, mammals got an earful of their ancestor's jaw.\"
    --J. Burns, on the evolution of auditory ossicles.

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    Send that teacher back to school.

    WEATHER PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN CO AIR QUALITY

    Carbon monoxide pollution levels are highest in the winter. Strong temperature inversions and cold air near the ground overlain by warm air above trap air pollution near ground level. A temperature inversion occurs when cold air near the ground is overlain by warm air above. Many Anchorage residents are familiar with this winter phenomena. During an inversion, temperatures on the Anchorage hillside can be 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than those down in the bowl.

    Very strong and persistent temperature inversions can develop at high northern latitudes because of long winter nights and weak daytime sunlight. For this reason, Anchorage and Fairbanks have had special difficulties in meeting air quality standards for carbon monoxide.

    SOURCES OF CO EMISSIONS IN ANCHORAGE

    An estimated total of 135 tons of CO are emitted during a typical weekday in the winter by all sources in the Anchorage bowl. About 84% of this CO is produced by cars and trucks. Most of the CO generated by motor vehicles is emitted during the first few minutes of operation. CO emissions are highest then because the engine is cold, the engine is operating rich, and the catalytic converter has not yet reached the operating temperature (about 600 F) necessary to convert carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide.

    Other, less significant sources of CO are aircraft, fireplaces, and woodstoves. Very little CO comes from power generation or industrial sources in Anchorage.

    ANCHORAGE CO AIR POLLUTION LEVELS COMPARED WITH OTHER CITIES

    Although levels of CO have declined, Anchorage has relatively high levels of carbon monoxide pollution compared with most other cities. Our cold climate and strong temperature inversions exacerbate the carbon monoxide problem. Because of the severe climate, Fairbanks also has relatively high CO concentrations. Most cities in the lower 48 states have achieved or will soon achieve compliance with the federal CO standard.

    Anchorage and Fairbanks are among only ten cities in the U.S. that remain out-of-compliance with the federal air quality standard for CO. Spokane, Washington is the only other city in the Pacific Northwest or Alaska.

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    nepenthes_ak's Avatar
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    He didnt say any thing about the snow that was My theory. BUT, he did say that cool weather helped polution.

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