ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE: Parisian Airs

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Science  26 Sep 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5641, pp. 1815b
DOI: 10.1126/science.301.5641.1815b

Urban air pollution typically has many sources. These commonly include fuel combustion, industrial emissions, and emissions from fires, all of which (and more) mix with natural air. Tracing and identifying all of these contributions is necessary for understanding and potentially mitigating pollution sources.

Javoy et al. used carbon isotope analyses and concentration data to show that the mix of sources contributing to urban carbon dioxide levels can be accurately traced. They analyzed the carbon dioxide of Paris, which reflects contributions from all of the above sources and air transported primarily from the ocean and over mainland Europe. The approach was sensitive enough to identify respired carbon dioxide from people on the street and the effect of gardens. Furthermore, the River Seine seems to act as a conduit for bringing fresh air into even the center of the city. — BH

Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 10.1016/S0012-821X(03)00397-2 (2003).

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