Air Pollution from Agriculture Rivals Motor Vehicle Emissions | AIChE

Air Pollution from Agriculture Rivals Motor Vehicle Emissions


A major source of air pollution may be right underfoot. Agricultural land is responsible for between 20% and 32% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) air pollution in California, according to new research. This is a major revision of the previous estimates, which put the contribution of cropland to NOx air pollution at a mere 3.8%.

In Europe and the U.S. Midwest, agricultural soils are responsible for around 30% of NOx emissions, so California’s 3.8% estimate didn’t really add up, says study leader Maya Almaraz, a postdoctoral researcher at the Univ. of California, Davis. Observed levels of NOx around the state were often higher than could be explained by fossil fuels alone, particularly in the agriculture-heavy Central Valley, where poor air quality is a common problem. The existing estimates for soil NOx emissions were based on a few spots around Sacramento, Almaraz says, so they hardly provided a comprehensive view of the state.

NOx is a term for the nitrogen oxides that are a primary component of air pollution and smog. NOx gases are toxic — they can contribute to the formation of particulate matter and aerosols, which inflame lung tissue, and to the formation of ozone, which...

Would you like to access the complete CEP News Update?

No problem. You just have to complete the following steps.

You have completed 0 of 2 steps.

  1. Log in

    You must be logged in to view this content. Log in now.

  2. AIChE Membership

    You must be an AIChE member to view this article. Join now.

Copyright Permissions 

Would you like to reuse content from CEP Magazine? It’s easy to request permission to reuse content. Simply click here to connect instantly to licensing services, where you can choose from a list of options regarding how you would like to reuse the desired content and complete the transaction.

Related Topics