PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
FREE PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

COVID-19 lockdown highlights ozone chemistry in China

Decreasing NOx emissions driving increased ozone pollution in late winter in China

2021-03-01
(Press-News.org) In early 2020, daily life in Northern China slammed to a halt as the region entered a strict period of lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19. Emissions from transportation and industry plummeted. Emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from fossil fuels fell by 60 to 70 percent.

And yet, environmental researchers noticed that ground-level ozone pollution in Beijing and the Northern China Plain skyrocketed during this time period, despite the decrease of NOx, a component of ozone.

The region is no stranger to severe ozone pollution but until about five years ago, most ozone events occurred during the summer. Recently, the ozone season in China has been getting longer, spreading into early spring and late winter. As it turns out, the COVID-19 lockdown can help explain why.

Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology (NUIST) have found that another component of ozone, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), may be to blame for the increase in winter ozone.

The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"The COVID-19 lockdown was an involuntary experiment in which the emissions decreased abruptly and a lot of ozone appeared suddenly," said Daniel J. Jacob, the Vasco McCoy Family Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Engineering at SEAS and co-corresponding author of the paper.

Ozone is formed through a series of chemical reactions, starting with the oxidation of VOCs. This reaction forms chemical radicals, which drive reactions between NOx and VOCs to produce ozone in the presence of sunlight. In a previous study, researchers from SEAS and NUIST found that in the summertime, particulate matter (PM2.5) acts like a sponge for the radicals needed to generate ozone pollution, sucking them up and preventing them from producing ozone.

In that paper, the researchers found that air pollution policies instituted by the Chinese government that reduced PM2.5 were causing an increase in harmful ground-level ozone pollution, especially in large cities.

In this research, the team found that NOx plays a similar role in the wintertime, scavenging radicals and preventing them from forming ozone. As NOx levels decrease, either all of a sudden with lockdown or gradually with air pollution controls, there are more radicals available for VOCs to react with. This enhanced oxidation of VOCs by radicals would amplify by producing more radicals themselves, and this process optimizes the ozone production efficiency of NOx.

"The COVID-19 experience helps explain the trend of increasing ozone pollution in the late winter and spring in China," said Ke Li, a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and first author of the study. "As NOx emissions have decreased, the ozone season in China is getting longer."

The research highlights the need to better understand the sources and species of VOCs and regulate their emissions.

"VOC emission controls would stop the spread of the ozone season and have major benefits on public health, crop production, and particulate pollution," said Hong Liao, Professor at NUIST and co-corresponding author of this work.

INFORMATION:

The paper was co-authored by Yulu Qiu, Lu Shen, Shixian Zhai, Kelvin H. Bates, Melissa P. Sulprizio, Shaojie Song, Xiao Lu, Qiang Zhang, Bo Zheng, Yuli Zhang, Jinqiang Zhang, Hyun Chul Lee, and Su Keun Ku.

It was supported by NUIST through the Harvard-NUIST Joint Laboratory for Air Quality and Climate (JLAQC).



ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

Oregon State research shows how tissue's microscopic geometry affects spread of cancer

Oregon State research shows how tissues microscopic geometry affects spread of cancer
2021-03-01
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University research has revealed a crucial mechanism behind one of humankind's most deadly physiological processes: the movement of malignant cells from one part of the body to another. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study led by OSU biophysicist Bo Sun shows the role that tissues' microscopic geometry plays in cancer metastasis, the internal spreading of the disease that's responsible for 95% of all cancer deaths. To develop drugs that effectively combat metastasis, it's fundamentally important to understand what directs the metastatic process, Sun said. "Our results show the level of tissue fiber alignment, particularly ...

Plant clock could be the key to producing more food for the world

Plant clock could be the key to producing more food for the world
2021-03-01
A University of Melbourne led study has established how plants use their metabolism to tell time and know when to grow - a discovery that could help leverage growing crops in different environments, including different seasons, different latitudes or even in artificial environments and vertical gardens. Published in the PNAS journal, Superoxide is promoted by sucrose and affects amplitude of circadian rhythms in the evening, details how plants use their metabolism to sense time at dusk and help conserve energy produced from sunlight during the day. Lead ...

Goodbye UTIs: Duke scientists develop vaccine strategy for urinary tract infections

Goodbye UTIs: Duke scientists develop vaccine strategy for urinary tract infections
2021-03-01
DURHAM, N.C. - Anyone who has ever developed a urinary tract infection (UTI) knows that it can be painful, pesky and persistent. UTIs have a high recurrence rate and primarily afflict women -- as many as 50% of women will experience at least one UTI during their lifetime. However, what if patients could take a vaccine that would prevent future UTIs? In a March 1 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Duke researchers describe a new vaccination strategy that they think could re-program the body to fight off the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. "Although several vaccines against UTIs have been investigated in clinical trials, they have so far had limited success," said Soman Abraham, Ph.D., Grace Kerby Distinguished Professor of Pathology, Immunology ...

Rapid antigen testing for COVID-19: piecing the puzzle together

2021-03-01
A new study from Boston Children's Hospital and the Massachusetts Department of Health compared one of the latest rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 -- the Abbott BinaxNOW -- with a highly accurate PCR test in a high-volume, drive-thru testing environment. They found that the rapid test detected almost all adults who tested positive by PCR if they had had symptoms lasting seven days or less. In symptomatic children with less than seven days of symptoms, the test picked up about 85 percent of true positive cases. But no matter the age, if the patient had high amounts of virus in their nose, the test caught it 99 percent of the time. It was also able to rule out COVID-19 ...

Predicting microbial interactions in the human gut

Predicting microbial interactions in the human gut
2021-03-01
The human gut consists of a complex community of microbes that consume and secrete hundreds of small molecules--a phenomenon called cross-feeding. However, it is challenging to study these processes experimentally. A new study, published in END ...

Through the looking glass: Artificial 'molecules' open door to ultrafast polaritonic devices

2021-03-01
Researchers from Skoltech and the University of Cambridge have shown that polaritons, the quirky particles that may end up running the quantum supercomputers of the future, can form structures behaving like molecules - and these "artificial molecules" can potentially be engineered on demand. The paper outlining these results was published in the journal Physical Review B Letters. Polaritons are quantum particles that consist of a photon and an exciton, another quasiparticle, marrying light and matter in a curious union that opens up a multitude of possibilities in next-generation polaritonic devices. Alexander Johnston, Kirill Kalinin and Natalia Berloff, professor at the Skoltech Center for Photonics and Quantum Materials ...

Supertest evaluates performance of engineering students in Russia, the United States, India, China

Supertest evaluates performance of engineering students in Russia, the United States, India, China
2021-03-01
A group of researchers representing four countries summed up the results of the Supertest, a large-scale study of the academic performance of engineering students in Russia, China, India, and the United States. It is the first study to track the progress of students in computer science and electrical engineering over the course of their studies with regard to their abilities in physics, mathematics, and critical thinking and compare the results among four countries. The article about study in Nature Human Behavior. The HSE Institute of Education played a key role not only in collecting and analyzing data from Russia, ...

Benign bone tumors are common in kids -- historical X-rays lend new insights

2021-03-01
March 1, 2021 - Benign bone tumors may be present in nearly 20 percent of healthy children, based on a review of historical radiographs in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio in partnership with Wolters Kluwer. Although that may sound frightening, non-ossifying fibromas and other common benign bone tumors in symptom-free children are harmless and may resolve over time, reports the new study by Christopher D. Collier, MD, of Indiana University School of Medicine and colleagues. "These findings provide unique evidence to answer many commonly encountered questions when counseling patients and their families on benign bone tumors," the researchers write. Study offers reassurance that benign ...

Swapping alpha cells for beta cells to treat diabetes

Swapping alpha cells for beta cells to treat diabetes
2021-03-01
Blocking cell receptors for glucagon, the counter-hormone to insulin, cured mouse models of diabetes by converting glucagon-producing cells into insulin producers instead, a team led by UT Southwestern reports in a new study. The END ...

Globally most pregnant women, mothers would get COVID-19 vaccine, vaccinate their children

2021-03-01
Boston, MA--Most pregnant women and mothers of children younger than 18 years old say they would receive a COVID-19 vaccine and vaccinate their children, according to a survey conducted by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The research indicated that vaccine acceptance was highest in India, the Philippines, and all sampled countries in Latin America, and it was lowest in Russia, the U.S., and Australia. The results will be published online on March 1, 2021 in the European Journal of Epidemiology. Vaccines for COVID-19 are being distributed around the world, but until ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

E-cigarettes with a cigarette-like level of nicotine are effective in reducing smoking

Deep Learning model developed at UHN to maximize lifespan after liver transplant 

Convenience over reputation: Study looks at how older adults pick a doctor

Ocean bacteria release carbon into the atmosphere

Spotting cows from space

Scientists watch 2D puddles of electrons emerge in a 3D superconducting material

Research suggests SEC's increasing focus on terrorism may limit financial oversight

Plastic planet: Tracking pervasive microplastics across the globe

Gut epithelium muscles up against infection

Scientists discover three liquid phases in aerosol particles

New mechanism identified behind blindness in older adults

Common approach to diversity in higher education reflects preferences of white Americans

Study reveals cancer immunotherapy patients at most risk of life-threatening side effects

Study reveals crucial details on skin-related side effects of cancer immune therapies

Researchers identify surface protein as a new osteosarcoma therapeutic target for antibody-drug conjugates

Differences in B cell responses to coronaviruses and other pathogens in children and adults

Bottom-up is the way forward for nitrogen reduction at institutions

Road salts and other human sources are threatening world's freshwater supplies

Researchers engineer probiotic yeast to produce beta-carotene

Spanking may affect the brain development of a child

UConn researchers find bubbles speed up energy transfer

Antidepressant use in pregnancy tied to affective disorders in offspring; no causal link

Binge-eating is not caused by stress-induced impulsivity

Stress does not lead to loss of self-control in eating disorders

USC Stem Cell study reveals neural stem cells age rapidly

Following atoms in real time could lead to better materials design

People want to improve mental health by exercising, but stress and anxiety get in the way

More than the sum of mutations

Living foams

Research brief: How pharmacists contribute meaningfully in primary health care

[Press-News.org] COVID-19 lockdown highlights ozone chemistry in China
Decreasing NOx emissions driving increased ozone pollution in late winter in China