Air pollution diminishing air quality at Devils Postpile National Monument

April 23rd, 2013 in Earth / Environment

Air pollution from wildland fires and urban and agricultural areas in California is diminishing air quality at Devils Postpile National Monument, according to a recent study published in the journal Atmospheric Environment.

Dr. Andrzej Bytnerowicz, a research ecologist from the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station, and a team of scientists measured air quality at Devils Postpile National Monument in the eastern Sierra Nevada and found occasionally high concentrations of ozone caused by and air pollution from the California Central Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. Ozone air pollution was measured at the Devils Postpile during the 2007 (low-fire) and 2008 (high-fire) summer seasons.

Key findings include:

"These findings are important for Sierra Nevada air and land managers and indicate that even at remote eastern Sierra locations, ozone pollution may be a problem for human and ecosystem health," says Dr. Bytnerowicz, the study's lead author. "Due to these potential risks, there is a need for long-term ozone monitoring in the Sierra Nevada in general, but especially in the areas with high local population and many summer recreational visitors."

There is also a need for evaluation of ozone effects on forest health since this pollutant may weaken trees, making them more sensitive to drought and bark beetle attacks, and consequently resulting in premature death and higher susceptibility to wildland fires, Bytnerowicz notes.

More information: The full report is available at: treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/43284

Provided by USDA Forest Service

"Air pollution diminishing air quality at Devils Postpile National Monument." April 23rd, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-04-air-pollution-diminishing-quality-devils.html