Topic 4a - Overview of Atmospheric transport

Transport of pollution in the atmosphere is caused by time-averaged wind flow.
How far air pollutants are transported mainly depends upon particle size of the compounds and the height the pollution was emitted into the air. Pollution can travel around a country, or between countries, or even across continents. For example a polluted air mass from China travelled to the USA in only 8 days.

Dust storms and dust transport can have health implications, as diseases can spread around through dust transportation. Outbreaks of material meningitis have been linked to sandstorms and extreme high temperatures in Saharan Africa. Up to 250,000 people, particularly children, contract the disease each year and 25,000 die.

In 2017 dust from Saharan Africa was transported to the UK due to strong southerly winds. This posed the risk that diseased such as bacterial meningitis can be transported across continents.

Featured Educators:

  • Prof John Burrows

  • Prof. John Remedios

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