Zach Koppang | Shale Plays Media
The research of air pollution on Colorado’s Front Range has found harmful ozone and ozone-causing chemicals in amounts that have surprised the researches involved, according to a recent report by the Associated Press.
Using balloons, ground stations and aircraft flights (which ran from mid-July to Aug. 18) researchers have been busy gathering data from areas to the south of Denver to Fort Collins, about 60 miles to the north. Although the scientists involved are still in the early stages of examining the data, they have been surprised to find such high concentrations. Ozone can exacerbate breathing problems as well as damage agricultural crops and other vegetation.
The elevated levels are mostly a result of oil and gas operations, traffic, power plants and agriculture. The sources listed above release chemicals into the atmosphere which when exposed to sunlight, combine to create ozone.
Dan Elliott reports:
The Denver area sometimes exceeds federal standards for ozone, and the new data is expected to help lawmakers and regulators make decisions about bringing levels down.
Researchers said ozone and ozone-causing chemicals were pushed into the mountain air from lower elevations by wind and temperature-driven air movement.
The researchers involved noted that they were fortunate to have performed the studies in days that had both high and low concentrations of ozone. Federal and state researchers, as well as scientists from about a dozen universities, are participating in sifting through the data. The refined data is expected to be released to the public by the year’s end.