European cities race to clean the air

European cities race to clean the air

Source: https://www.euronews.com/2020/08/31/european-cities-race-to-clean-the-air  By Copernicus    31/08/2020  London view from St Paul's Cathedral   Copyright  Getty Images Mounting concerns about public health are pushing cities to scrub their air clean. But just how easy is breathing fresh air again? Italy’s economic powerhouse hadn’t felt so clean in years. As the novel coronavirus put the country and the hard-hit region of Lombardia under lockdown, muting the human and economic buzz, it also unlocked an unlikely reality: cities with better quality. Above the Earth, satellites confirmed the slash in air pollutants, as they took snapshots of the region’s clearer skies, including Milan’s, infamous for its dangerous air pollution levels, just as many other places in the world. This March, nitrous oxide was down 38%, particulate matter 14%, and benzene 33% lower, compared to the same month between 2016-2019, data from Lombardia’s environment agency showed. Madrid, Lisbon, and other cities in Europe also breathed fresher air through their lockdowns. But this silver lining to the global health emergency turns to be short-lived as...
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Exposure to air pollution may increase risk of COVID-19 death

Exposure to air pollution may increase risk of COVID-19 death

Source: https://airqualitynews.com/2020/08/25/exposure-to-air-pollution-may-increase-risk-of-covid-19-death/ 25.08.2020 Long-term exposure to particulate matter (PM2.5) may increase the risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19 by up to 7%, according to researchers at the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  In order to understand the link between long-term exposure to air pollution and COVID-19, researchers at ONS developed a detailed statistical model controlling for factors such as levels of deprivation, ethnicity, population density, public health and pre-existing health conditions. The researchers considered exposure to ozone, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). They did not account for changes in pollution levels since the pandemic began. At the start of the pandemic, infection rates were highest in cities where air pollution is also high. Up to the week when lockdown began, 45% of deaths in England had occurred in London, however by the week ending June 12, this had fallen to 18%. As the virus spread across the country, the correlation between air pollution exposure and COVID-19 mortality decreased. While deaths rates have generally been...
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Air pollution may be linked to the development of diabetes, new study

Air pollution may be linked to the development of diabetes, new study

Source: http://airqualitynews.com/2020/08/21/air-pollution-linked-to-diabetes/  21.08.2020 Exposure to air pollution may increase the risk of developing diabetes, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.  To test the impact that air pollution has on health, researchers from the University of Cardiovascular Research Institute created an environment that mimicked a polluted day in New Delhi or Beijing, by concentrating fine particulate matter pollution (PM2.5).  Using a mouse model study, the researchers observed the health impacts of three groups, a control group receiving clean filtered air, a group exposed to polluted air for 24 weeks and a group fed a high-fat diet.  The researchers found that being exposed to air pollution was comparable to eating a high-fat diet. Both air pollution and the high-fat diet group showed insulin resistance and abnormal metabolism – just like you would see in a pre-diabetic state.  These changes were associated with changes in the epigenome, a layer of control that can turn on and off thousands of genes, representing a critical buffer...
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Air pollution is a driver of residential electricity demand, study finds

Cleaner urban air will help reduce energy demand and mitigate carbon emissions Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200817123057.htm  August 17, 2020 A study conducted by Associate Professor Alberto Salvo from the Department of Economics at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences revealed that households respond to ambient air pollution by increasing electricity consumption, which in turn increases the carbon emissions that are co-produced in supplying the electricity. The study, set in Singapore, revealed that better air quality will bring about climate co-benefits -- in reducing electricity generation via lower household demand, and thus mitigating carbon emissions. Assoc Prof Salvo said, "Urban areas in developing Asian nations are home to an expanding base of energy consumers, with energy supply likely to remain carbon intensive for decades in the absence of major technological or regulatory shifts. Understanding what drives energy demand across the socioeconomic distribution of Singapore households can provide insight on the future energy demand of urban populations in the region's cities as...
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Ambient air pollution increases carbon emissions

Source: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20200817/Ambient-air-pollution-increases-carbon-emissions.aspx  Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor) Aug 17 2020 A study conducted by Associate Professor Alberto Salvo from the Department of Economics at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences revealed that households respond to ambient air pollution by increasing electricity consumption, which in turn increases the carbon emissions that are co-produced in supplying the electricity. The study, set in Singapore, revealed that better air quality will bring about climate co-benefits - in reducing electricity generation via lower household demand, and thus mitigating carbon emissions. Urban areas in developing Asian nations are home to an expanding base of energy consumers, with energy supply likely to remain carbon intensive for decades in the absence of major technological or regulatory shifts. Alberto Salvo, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, National University of Singapore Understanding what drives energy demand across the socioeconomic distribution of Singapore households can provide insight on the future energy demand of urban populations in the region's cities as incomes rise....
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CyI Models Atmospheric Transport of Pollution After Explosion in Beirut

CyI Models Atmospheric Transport of Pollution After Explosion in Beirut

Source: https://www.cyi.ac.cy/index.php/cyi-news/cyi-uses-modelled-atmospheric-transport-after-explosion-in-beirut-lebanon-1856.html August 5, 2020  The Environmental Predictions Department of The Cyprus Institute Climate and Atmosphere Research Center (CARE-C) has used the HYSPLIT model to track and forecast the potential atmospheric transport of pollution originating from the explosion of 4 August 2020 at Beirut, Lebanon. In the HYSPLIT particle model, a fixed number of particles are advected about the model domain by the mean wind field and spread by a turbulent component. The model calculates a 3-dimensional particle distribution (horizontal and vertical). The modelled meteorological conditions, including wind speed and direction, were used to calculate air parcel trajectories for 72 hours after the explosion. The trajectory ensemble includes multiple trajectories from the location of the explosion. Based on the model, air masses above the accident site were transported to the East and South of Lebanon. Each member of the trajectory ensemble is calculated by offsetting the meteorological data by a fixed grid factor (one grid meteorological grid point in the horizontal and 0.01 sigma units...
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The covid lockdown’s effect on solar power is a silver lining

The covid lockdown’s effect on solar power is a silver lining

The lockdown in India gave a unique chance to measure how drastic drops in air pollution can increase solar panel output Source: https://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2020/07/the-covid-lockdowns-effect-on-solar-installations-are-a-silver-lining/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-covid-lockdowns-effect-on-solar-installations-are-a-silver-lining  By Prachi Patel July 30, 2020 Image by Pixabay from Pixabay Just days after India went into severe lockdown in an effort to slow down COVID-19, people in the country’s heavily polluted cities started seeing clear, blue skies. That drop in air pollution also boosted the output of photovoltaic solar panels, researchers have found. In a paper published in the journal Joule, they report that Delhi’s shutdown increased the power produced by solar installations by over 8 percent. That number seems small, but it is roughly the difference between the how a solar panel would perform in Houston versus in Toronto, according to the researchers. The results are not surprising of course, but the pandemic offered a unique opportunity to measure the impact of reduced pollution on solar output. Delhi is one of the most polluted cities on the planet, and India’s drastic lockdown...
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The most harmful air pollutants hardly declined during lockdown

The most harmful air pollutants hardly declined during lockdown

Source: http://airqualitynews.com/2020/07/28/the-most-harmful-pollutants-hardly-declined-during-lockdown/  28.07.2020 The two most harmful air pollutants, particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone, hardly declined during the lockdown period in China. Researchers from the University of Leeds and the University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, analysed 1,600 air quality monitoring stations in China from January 2015 to April 2020 in order to isolate and understand the changes in air pollution during the lockdown period. The researchers found that while concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) did show improvements, the two most harmful pollutants to human health hardly declined. Fine particles measuring less than 2.5µm – had a modest reduction of 11% in some areas and did not decline at all in north-east China. The researchers also found that there was almost no change in ozone concentrations across the country.  Photo Credit – Pixabay Lead author of the study Ben Silver, from the University of Leeds, said: ‘The largest reductions of NO2 were in the Hubei province, where NO2 concentrations were over 50% lower during the lockdown. ‘Much smaller...
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COVID-19 has accelerated transition to environmentally friendly transport

COVID-19 has accelerated transition to environmentally friendly transport

Source: http://airqualitynews.com/2020/07/27/covid-19-has-encouraged-environmentally-friendly-travel/  27.07.2020 The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition to more environmentally friendly transport, according to new research conducted by Admiral car insurance.  In order to enable social distancing, many cities are prioritising pedestrians and cyclists by adding cycle paths, widening pavements and closing roads. According to Admiral car insurance, 37% of cities have announced plans to widen footpaths and pathways to allocate more space for pedestrians.  31% of cities have also announced plans for pop-up and temporary cycle lanes.  These cycle lanes will also be shared with e-scooters following the government’s recent announcement to allow rented e-scooters to use the same road space as cyclists.  21% of plans also included suggestions to close streets off from motorists at certain times of day to help encourage individuals to walk while also complying with social distancing measures.  Steve Brooks, executive director of external affairs at cycling charity Sustrans commented on this research: ‘How people access their everyday needs and move around cities, towns and neighbourhoods will play...
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Social distancing is making public transport worse for the environment

Social distancing is making public transport worse for the environment

Source: https://airqualitynews.com/2020/07/24/social-distancing-is-making-public-transport-worse-for-the-environment-than-car/ 24.07.2020 Social distancing is making public transport worse for the environment than cars but researchers at the University of Cardiff have created a new app to help fix the problem.  During the lockdown, travel restrictions caused car and public transport use to plummet across the UK. On April 12 2020, the number of daily trips by car fell to 22%, compared to a typical day the year before. Public transport use dropped too. National Rail ticket sales were at 4% of their pre-pandemic norm and bus ticket sales outside of London fell to 10%. With one-third of the world under lockdown at one point, travel restrictions in different countries contributed to a global reduction in carbon dioxide (C0₂) emissions of 17% in April, compared to 2019. But as these measures have been relaxed, personal vehicle use has increased again, approaching 80% of typical levels by mid-July. Unfortunately, public transport use remains low, with train ticket sales and buses outside of London still running at...
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