With diesel often in the cross hairs of most emissions based talk these days, this should help brighten your week...
A recent study proved a host of scientists wrong in their assumption that diesels contribute more in the formation of secondary organic aerosols (SOA) to the air than gasoline vehicles. SOAs are tiny particles formed in air, which typically make up 40 to 60 percent of the aerosol mass (fine particles dispersed in a gas, smoke, or fog) in urban environments. They are linked with causing human heart and respiratory problems.
Using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) P3 research aircraft (equipped with tools of all kinds for measuring air pollutants), scientists made three weekday and three weekend flights over the Los Angeles basin in Southern California.
"From their measurements, the scientists were able to confirm, as expected, that diesel trucks were used less during weekends, while the use of gasoline vehicles remained nearly constant throughout the week. The team then expected that the weekend levels of SOAs would take a dive from their weekday levels. But that was not what they found."
"Instead the levels of the SOA particles remained relatively unchanged from their weekday levels. Because the scientists knew that the only two sources for SOA production in this location were gasoline and diesel fumes, the study's result pointed directly to gasoline as the key source."
"Therefore, substantial reductions of SOA mass can be achieved by reducing gasoline vehicle emissions, concluded the study."
*Scientists from the University of Colorado Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory, and other colleagues participated in the study.