Gulf Oil Spill Helps Explain Air Pollution Mystery
Source of harmful aerosols identified based on spill studies.
While the air pollution produced by the spill itself was regional and relatively small, the study authors note, the secrets unlocked by studying it could have ramifications far beyond the Gulf.
Much of the fresh oil that ended up on the Gulf of Mexico's surface evaporated into the atmosphere and got broken down by sunlight.
(Read more about how nature can help clean up an oil spill.)
But the evaporating oil also created tiny particles known as aerosols, which don't disappear so quickly.
Aerosols can impact human health, including lung and heart function. The particles can even influence climate by scattering incoming solar radiation—thus cooling Earth—and