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What’s in Our Smog? NOAA Scientists Are Trying to Find Out


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists in Boulder were initially surprised when they discovered high concentrations of nitryl chloride in the local air at night: The pollutant is typically found in coastal areas, not the dry, high desert (Daily Camera). “During winter nights, scientists believe that nitrogen oxide pollutants–released from tail pipes and coal-burning power plants, among other sources–react with chlorine compounds found on the surface of particles suspended in the air,” the paper writes.

But now the scientists have a plan for studying the pollutant, which they believe is contributing to Denver’s brown cloud, thanks to “a government chemistry project launched Tuesday that uses a 985-foot-tall tower to sniff out a nasty new element of smog” (Denver Post).


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