From the mailbag: “How far do pollutants from one place travel? Can we detect pollutants from far away places in our air here?”

Question: How far do pollutants from one place travel? Can we detect pollutants from far away places in our air here? – S.S., Seattle, WA

Answer: Some atmospheric gases and particles can travel over long distances, making air quality an international issue. Dust from dust storms in Africa and China regularly reaches the Western Hemisphere, and there is evidence that the long-range transport of pollution from Asia is raising the background levels of pollutants on the West Coast of the US. INTEX was a recent major collaborative NASA science campaign to study the intercontinental
transport of atmospheric pollutants.

From the mailbag: “What are the health effects of pollution on humans?”

Question: What are the health effects of pollution on humans? – L.I., Miami, FL

Answer: Poor air quality primarily affects the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. According to the EPA, exposure to particulate matter and ozone is associated with aggravated asthma, chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, and premature death in people with heart or lung disease. For more information, see this site on the health effects of air pollution, maintained by Health Canada 

site de rencontre thai El Khroub

El sitio web del Centro Mario Molina es un recurso maravilloso para información y noticias en Español sobre la calidad del aire, el cambio climático, y el desarrollo sustentable.

El Dr. Mario Molina es un químico conocido por todo el mundo por su trabajo en la química atmosférica. El Dr. Molina ganó el Premio Nobel de Química en 1995 por sus investigaciones sobre la descomposición del ozono estratosférico. Más recientemente, él ha estado trabajando para entender y mejorar la calidad del aire de la Ciudad de México y otras ciudades grandes, al iqual que  el cambio climático. En el 2005 se fundó este Centro, que es “un puente de soluciones prácticas entre la ciencia y las políticas públicas en materia de energía y del medio ambiente para promover el desarrollo sustentable.”

http://centromariomolina.org  twitter: @CentroMMolina

Dr. Molina con Prof. McNeill y su familia en May 2014.
El Dr. Molina con la Prof. McNeill y su familia en Mayo del 2014.

 

 

Recommended Resource: Aerosol Science & Engineering

In honor of the 2014 Annual meeting of the American Association for Aerosol Research, happening this week in Orlando, FL,  we are very excited to share with you this series of educational modules on the science and engineering of aerosols (airborne particles).

These materials were developed by Profs. Pratim Biswas, of Washington University St. Louis, and C. Y. Wu, of University of Florida, through a collaborative grant from the National Science Foundation. The modules are aimed at an introductory college level, and are excellent for supplementing course materials or learning on your own.

The modules: http://aerosols.wustl.edu/education/

The complete lecture series for an introductory course on Aerosol Science and Technology from WUStL is available FREE through ITunesU!: https://itunes.apple.com/us/course/id691280850

Additional information on this effort, and more resources: http://www.aerosols.wustl.edu/aaqrl/Education/mageep/index.html

 

Go to S’COOL with NASA #SkyScience!

Haga click aquí para ver esta publicada en Español

Next week (Oct. 12-14) is Earth Sciences Week.  This is a great opportunity to get to know the educational programs offered by NASA.  Our favorite is “S’COOL.”  In this program, you learn about the different types of clouds, and you can make observations of the clouds in your area, record them, and report them back to NASA.  By doing this, you can help NASA validate the performance of the CERES satellite.  This satellite observes the same clouds you see from the ground, but from space!

Get to know the different types of clouds:  Cloud Identification Chart (NASA)

Record your observations: Report Form

Report them to NASA: S’COOL Ground Observation Report

Vete pa’ S’COOL con NASA #SkyScience

La próxima semana (Oct. 12-14) es la Semana de las Ciencias de la Tierra.  Es una gran oportunidad para conocer los programas educativos ofrecidos por la NASA.  Nuestro programa favorito es “S’COOL.”  En este programa, se aprende sobre los diferentes tipos de nubes, y  se pueden hacer observaciones de las mismas en su área, registrarlas, y reportarlas a la NASA.  De esta manera, se puede ayudar a la NASA a verificar la funcionalidad del satélite CERES.  Este satélite observa las mismas nubes que se pueden ver desde el puto de vista terrestre, al igual que desde el espacio!

Conoce los tipos de nubes:  Carta de Identificación de Nubes (NASA)

Registra tus observaciones: Forma de Reporte

Reportarlas a la NASA: Reporte de Observaciones Terrestres de S’COOL

Recommended Resource: Smarter Every Day

Smarter Every Day is a Youtube channel dedicated to exploring the physics of the world around us and making it fun and accessible to everyone.  Destin Sandlin, a mechanical and aerospace engineer, follows his curiosity with the help of high-speed video, demonstrations, input from experts, occasional help from his family, and the laws of physics. Destin gives the technical side of the series both breadth and depth, while keeping things thoroughly engaging.  His enthusiasm and fascination with science is contagious.

While not specificially focused on atmospheric science,  we wanted to share this resource because of the awesome combination of entertainment and engineering-related education it provides.  Many concepts in fluid mechanics, a favorite topic of ours, make an appearance, for example in the helicopter “deep dive” series.

Prof. McNeill and her family love watching these videos together before bedtime.  That two engineers with PhDs and a two year old all enjoy the videos equally says something about their special appeal and entertainment value (as well as the quality of the technical content).   At 2 years old her son may be a little young to be learning about concepts like cavitation and gyroscopic precession, but he enjoys every minute!

 

 

De la saca de correos: “Mi hija tiene asma. ¿De qué manera la contaminación del aire afecta a su salud?”

Pregunta: Mi hija tiene asma. ¿De qué manera la contaminación del aire afecta a su salud? – M.N., New York, NY

Respuesta: Las personas asmáticas son muy sensibles a los efectos de la contaminación del aire. Al respirar el aire contaminado, esto puede desencadenar o empeorar los síntomas del asma.  El ĺndice de Calidad del Aire (AQI) es una medida que nos dice que tan ‘saludable’ es el estado actual del aire que respiramos. El AQI se calcula por los niveles de unas sustancias presentes en el aire, las cuales pueden afectar la salud humana, por ejemplo el ozono y la materia particulada. Un nivel AQI sobre 101 no es saludable para la gente asmática, mientras que para los adultos con un buen estado de salud y sin asma, un nivel de AQI sobre 151 no es saludable.

La Prof. McNeill también tiene asma y en los días con alto AQI, ella no se siente bien y usa más el inhalador. Cuando ella estudiaba en la universidad Caltech, cerca de Los Angeles, la calidad del aire fue muy mala, peor que hoy, y esto la motivó a estudiar la química atmosférica.

 

 

From the mailbag: “What does the air quality index measure, and what values correspond to ‘good’ air quality?”

Question: What does the air quality index measure, and what values correspond to ‘good’ air quality? – T.L., Manila, Philippines

Answer: Good question! The Air Quality Index (AQI) is calculated based on the concentrations of different pollutants in the air, including atmospheric particulate matter, ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide.  According to the U.S. EPA, an AQI of 0-50 corresponds to “good” air quality. AQI of 51-100 is “moderate.” When AQI is 101-150, the conditions are “unhealthy for sensitive groups” such as asthmatics, children, and the elderly. AQI of above 151 is considered unhealthy for everyone.

Blog recommendation: Adventures in Oceanography and Teaching

This fantastic blog was recently brought to our attention.  It is an excellent resource for students and educators interested in oceanography and fluid dynamics.  Mirjam Glessmer has a passion for simple experiments demonstrating important concepts in oceanography. Her blog features many videos and descriptions of these experiments which can be used for classroom demonstrations or at-home learning activities.  She also posts on teaching philosophy. Check it out!

http://mirjamsophiaglessmer.wordpress.com/