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NASA Satellite Finds 39 Unreported Sources of Toxic Air Pollution (phys.org) 39

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Using a new satellite-based method, scientists at NASA, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and two universities have located 39 unreported and major human-made sources of toxic sulfur dioxide emissions. A known health hazard and contributor to acid rain, sulfur dioxide (SO2) is one of six air pollutants regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The 39 unreported emission sources, found in the analysis of satellite data from 2005 to 2014, are clusters of coal-burning power plants, smelters, oil and gas operations found notably in the Middle East, but also in Mexico and parts of Russia. In addition, reported emissions from known sources in these regions were -- in some cases -- two to three times lower than satellite-based estimates. Altogether, the unreported and underreported sources account for about 12 percent of all human-made emissions of sulfur dioxide -- a discrepancy that can have a large impact on regional air quality, said Chris McLinden, an atmospheric scientist and lead author of the study. The co-author of the study, Nickolay Krotkov, says quantifying the sulfur dioxide bull's-eyes is a two-step process that would not have been possible without an improvement in the computer processing that transforms raw satellite observations from the Dutch-Finnish Ozone Monitoring Instrument aboard NASA's Aura spacecraft into precise estimates of sulfur dioxide concentrations, and the ability to detect smaller concentrations using a new computer program that precisely detects sulfur dioxide that had been dispersed and diluted by winds.
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NASA Satellite Finds 39 Unreported Sources of Toxic Air Pollution

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    • These dudes in Mexico, Russia, and the Middle East are pumping out "one of six air pollutants regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency."

      I'll bet those dudes are now worried about what happens next . . . next thing you know it, the U.S. President will give a speech subjecting them to a good scolding.

  • ...they're all large pick-up trucks in Florida, modified to "roll coal".
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I didn't think Volkswagen exported trucks to the US.

  • Oh crap! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The global warming cash is running out.

    Next up, Acid Rain.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      SO2 has the opposite effect of CO2, and actually offsets the greenhouse effect. Hence the Global Cooling scare of the 70's. Once industrialized countries put scrubbers on all the smokestacks and took out the SO2, the CO2 fight finally began. If you're looking for why the predicted CO2-based temperature rise has somewhat failed to materialize, these "evil" people with unaccounted SO2 emissions might be the ones to thank.

      So yeah, if global warming is what you're worried about, letting more SO2 out is certainl

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Hmm... So, perhaps all those carefully crafted "curve fitting" global warning predictions need to be "evolved" to account for this extra SO2.

        My first thought when I see unknown sources of either green house gasses or pollutants that offset them is that all the analysis of climate models showing how they must be accurate because, in retrospect, their predictions would have matched historical measurements, now don't apply anymore. Surely we should go back and crank the new numbers in and see if the resulting

      • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

        cant tell if parody...
        or just stupid.

    • The global warming cash is running out.

      Well acid rain is basically a solved problem so if you need to deny that one to pay the rent, go ahead....
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Who cares. As the republicans say: Fuck the planet, let God sort it out.
    • Re:Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2016 @08:19PM (#52229897)

      Who cares. As the republicans say: Fuck the planet, let God sort it out.

      Since tthe rapture is any day now, you can't blame them.

      • Since tthe rapture is any day now, you can't blame them.

        Christians have been saying that for 2000 years, Muslims for almost 1400. Don't hold your breath waiting for it - unless you're downwind of one of those hidden SO2 sources.

        • Since tthe rapture is any day now, you can't blame them.

          Christians have been saying that for 2000 years, Muslims for almost 1400. Don't hold your breath waiting for it - unless you're downwind of one of those hidden SO2 sources.

          When in fact, Jesus said he would return very soon:

          “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.“ (Matthew 16: 27, 28)

          • When in fact, Jesus said he would return very soon:

            “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.“ (Matthew 16: 27, 28)

            Oh, and I forgot to add that that quote also flies in the face of fundamentalists dismissal of doing good deeds as a mandate. They say that the only requirement is accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior is the entry ticket.

        • by imidan ( 559239 )

          According to Pew Research, 41% of Americans believe that it is likely that the second coming of Jesus will occur within forty years. Make that 58% when looking at white evangelical Christians. Some number of these people are actually in positions to make decisions that affect our country. Our previous president claimed that God told him to ban embryonic stem cell research using federal funding.

          So even if the rapture isn't right around the corner, one thing we have to deal with in the US is that quite a l

  • Seriously, Middle East and Russia were 2 of the 3 main sources. Neither are going to change. Mexico MIGHT.
  • Because, you know, we can't allow America to be a super power anymore.

  • The article says: "In addition, reported emissions from known sources in these regions were -- in some cases -- two to three times lower than satellite-based estimates."

    Does this mean "2 to 3 times greater", "1/2 to 1/3 lower", or "1/2 to 2/3 lower"?

  • This is exactly the sort of earth sciences and monitoring that the GOP in congress is trying to strip from NASA's (already woefully inadequate) budget when they say NASA should stick to space science and stop turning the cameras/instruments around to look back at the Earth.

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley

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