Mexico City air pollution is studied

March 3, 2006

Scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and other institutions are in Mexico City this month for a pollution study.

In one of the most complex field studies ever undertaken in atmospheric chemistry, the scientists will make multiple research flights aboard aircraft and operate ground instruments to investigate the chemical and physical transformation of air pollution as it flows downwind from Mexico City.

The scientists' goal is to assess the pollution's impact on regional and global air quality, climate, and ecosystems. The results are expected to be applicable to megacities -- cities with 10 million or more inhabitants -- in other locations around the world.

"Mexico City's pollution probably doesn't have a global impact, but all urban areas together do, and the world is urbanizing," said NCAR scientist Sasha Madronich, one of the project's principal investigators. "If we can understand the pollution impacts of Mexico City, we can apply this new knowledge to other urban areas across the globe."

The project, called MIRAGE -- Megacity Impacts of Regional and Global Environments -- is led by NCAR in partnership with several U.S. universities and other organizations.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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