Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Fracking/Ozone Mystery-

There is an important atmospheric mystery that needs to be understood, quickly.                                Cliff Mass Weather Blog Dec. 23, 2013
 As many of you know, natural gas fracking has become widespread across the
United States and is now a major source of natural gas used in heating, power
generation, and other applications.  Such fracking injects chemicals and sand
 under high pressure to produce cracks in underlying rock strata, with the sand
 keeping the pores open to allow the escape of large quantities of natural gas

And now the mystery part.   In regions where fracking is being done, some quite rural, extraordinarily high ozone values are being observed.   And such ozone values have been particularly elevated over regions of snow.  But why?

 And let's remember that ozone, while wonderful protection from ultraviolet radiation when concentrated in the stratosphere, is NOT your friend near the surface.  Ozone is a powerful lung irritant that contributes to asthma and other breathing disorders.   High ozone values can also lead to heart disease and premature death and can greatly damage plants.

Pretty nasty stuff.

So it is very important to understand why fracking is associated with high ozone values, why snow is important, and what we can do to mitigate such ozone production during fracking operations  

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