War Improves Air Quality by Reducing Fossil Fuel Consumption

(p. A4) A paper published on Friday [September 25, 2015] in the journal Science Advances analyzed satellite data from observations of major cities in the Middle East and found that measurements of nitrogen oxides in the air around those cities provided insights into the effects of war, civil unrest and other crises.
Nitrogen dioxide, a byproduct of the burning of fossil fuels, is part of the chemical reactions that produce ozone and smog. Nitrogen oxides are often used by scientists as an indicator of economic activity and of the effectiveness of pollution-control measures.
From 2005 to 2010, the Middle East had some of the world’s fastest-growing levels of polluting emissions, in step with economic development. According to the paper, however, in recent years many of the cities in the region showed a rapid decline in levels of nitrogen oxides, while levels continued to rise elsewhere in the world.

For the full story, see:
JOHN SCHWARTZ. “Study Finds Surprising Byproduct of Middle Eastern Conflicts: Cleaner Air.” The Wall Street Journal (Sat., AUG. 22, 2015): A4.
(Note: bracketed date added; the print version had the journal simply as Science.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date AUG. 21, 2015.)

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