Los Angeles found to contribute major smog to Grand Canyon

January 23, 1991|By Los Angeles Times

Researchers from St. Louis, Reno, Nev., and San Diego have found that industrial chemicals released in the Los Angeles area show up in the Nevada and Arizona deserts one to two days later. The chemicals, which serve as tracers to monitor large-scale air movements, indicate that pollutants from Los Angeles make a significant contribution to the haze and smog that frequently obscure vision at the Grand Canyon.

In a novel finding, the researchers showed that the average concentrations of the tracer chemicals, called halocarbons, in the desert exhibited a seven-day cycle that mimics the Los Angeles work week, with five days of elevated readings and two days of lower readings.

"The sun sets every night, and the Earth goes around the sun every year, but no geophysical variable takes weekends off," said chemist Warren White of Washington University, who participated in the research.

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