Nature Geoscience

Less sulfate in the air, but it’s still as acidic as ever

Hongyu Guo, Rodney Weber and Ted Russell on their research platform atop the Ford Environmental Science & Technology Building.

Acidic sulfur emissions from power plants have been rapidly declining over the past decade, and the neutralizing base – ammonia – is emitted from a different source, and has not declined. This has led many atmospheric scientists to assume that the ambient sulfate particles we all breathe are becoming less acidic and therefore less toxic. But a new study shows this intuitive expectation hasn’t happened, at least not in the Southeast United States, where the remaining sulfate particles appear to be as acidic as ever.

Monday, February 22, 2016
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