Supplemental Report SOURCES, ABUNDANCE, AND FATE OF GASEOUS ATMOSPHERIC POLLUTANTS SUPPLEMENT
|Publication Date:||1 June 1969|
In 1968 we published a comprehensive report, "Source, Abundance, and Fate of Gaseous Atmospheric Pollutants" (Robinson and Robbins, 1968),* that examined the present state of knowledge of the atmospheric cycles of a number of common gaseous air pollutants. In particular, this prior report covered in detail sulfur compounds, nitrogen compounds, organics, and carbon monoxide. A brief discussion of carbon dioxide was also presented. The pattern followed in the study included an analysis of emissions from the major natural and urban pollution sources, an estimation of the effectiveness of applicable atmospheric reaction processes, and a determination of the nature and effectiveness of the scavenging processes by which the material is finally removed from the atmosphere. The emissions and scavenging processes were considered on a global basis in contrast to a United States-only basis that is used in many discussions of air pollution. This earlier study was in a number of ways a new approach to considering air pollutants, especially in our integration of both natural and urban emissions as sources of the materials found in the atmosphere.
During the preparation of the previous analysis, there were several questions that, because of available time, were not covered in the detail that seemed desirable after the report was prepared. Thus, this supplemental analysis and report have been undertaken. This present report provides a more detailed analysis of the atmospheric buildup of CO2, a newer analysis of the question of CO concentrations, another look at the atmospheric cycle of nitrogen compounds, and an analysis of the implications of atmospheric trace chemistry differences in the northern and southern hemispheres.
We will point out in the present report, as we did in the previous one, that scavenging mechanisms exist in the natural environment for all of the gaseous pollutants that we are considering. These scavenging mechanisms have a direct bearing on the question of long term accumulations of pollutants in the atmosphere. However, these scavenging mechanisms do not operate fast enough to provide solutions for local urban air pollution situations. In fact, the existence of an air pollution situation is evidence that the available scavenging mechanisms have been overburdened by the local emission rates.
* Subsequently referred to as (1).