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新地图给环境污染引发的健康问题提供的全景图

来源:环保新闻网|上海市环境保护产业协会(沪环协)官方网 作者:环保新闻网|上海市环境保护产业协会(沪环协)官方网 发布时间:2012-05-02 查看次数:26549

In many developing countries, the absence of surface-based air pollution sensors makes it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to get even a rough estimate of the abundance of a subcategory of airborne particles that epidemiologists suspect contributes to millions of premature deaths each year. The problematic particles, called fine particulate matter (PM2.5), are 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, about a tenth the fraction of human hair. These small particles can get past the body’s normal defenses and penetrate deep into the lungs.

在很多发展中国家,由于地面地面空气质量检测器的缺乏和一些不太现实的原因,使得去检测,哪怕是很粗糙的评估大量的亚种的悬浮颗粒物都变得很困难,这些悬浮颗粒物被怀疑每年促成了大量的premature deaths。这些有争议的悬浮颗粒被称为细微的特殊物质(PM2.5,下文简化为PM),这种物质直径在2.5微米或者更小,大小差不多是头发丝的十分之一。这些小的颗粒物可以通过人体的正常防线,渗透到人的肺里。

To fill in these gaps in surface-based PM2.5 measurements, experts look toward satellites to provide a global perspective. Yet, satellite instruments have generally struggled to achieve accurate measurements of the particles in near-surface air. The problem: Most satellite instruments can’t distinguish particles close to the ground from those high in the atmosphere. In addition, clouds tend to obscure the view. And bright land surfaces, such as snow, desert sand, and those found in certain urban areas can mar measurements.

为了测量地面上PM的分布情况,科学家希望通过卫星来提供一个地球的全景图。虽然,卫星设备不断的尝试着去逐渐接近地表空气中的颗粒物的精确值,但问题是大多数的卫星不能区分这些颗粒物是在地面还是在大气中。另外,云层也阻碍人们的观察,还有大量的地面强光,譬如积雪,沙漠中的石头,和某些城市,这些都会给测量带来误差。

However, the view got a bit clearer this summer with the publication of the first long-term global map of PM2.5 in a recent issue of Environmental Health Perspectives. Canadian researchers Aaron van Donkelaar and Randall Martin at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, created the map by blending total-column aerosol amount measurements from two NASA satellite instruments with information about the vertical distribution of aerosols from a computer model.

然而,由于这个夏天Environmental Health Perspectives杂志中发表的全球首张长期的PM的地图,使结果变得更加明朗,加拿大学者Aaron van Donkelaar 和 Randall Martin在达尔豪西大学,这张地图是通过叠加了NASA卫星获得的总的空气悬浮颗粒物的信息与由计算机模型获得的悬浮颗粒物垂直分布数据绘制的。


Global satellite-derived map of PM2.5 averaged over 2001-2006.

Their map, which shows the average PM2.5 results between 2001 and 2006, offers the most comprehensive view of the health-sapping particles to date. Though the new blending technique has not necessarily produced more accurate pollution measurements over developed regions that have well-established surface-based monitoring networks, it has provided the first PM2.5 satellite estimates in a number of developing countries that have had no estimates of air pollution levels until now.

这张显示了2001-2006年平均PM的地图,提供了到目前为止关于影响身体健康的颗粒物的最综合的结果。尽管新的混合技术还不可能提供更加精确的测量方法,尤其相对于那些已经很好的建立了地表检测网络的发达地区。这张地图首次提供了卫星测量的大多数发展中国家的PM情况,这些地方到目前为止还未开展空气污染的评估。

The map shows very high levels of PM2.5 in a broad swath stretching from the Saharan Desert in Northern Africa to Eastern Asia. When compared with maps of population density, it suggests more than 80 percent of the world’s population breathe polluted air that exceeds the World Health Organization’s recommended level of 10 micrograms per cubic meter. Levels of PM2.5 are comparatively low in the United States, though noticeable pockets are clearly visible over urban areas in the Midwest and East.

这张地图显示从北非的撒哈拉大沙漠一直绵延到东亚,都有很高的PM水平。当和地图区域中的人口密度水平进行比较,结果显示超过80%的世界人口呼吸着被污染的空气(联合国卫生组织认为,每立方米气体超过10微克的废气就算被污染)。在美国地区PM的水平比较低,尽管在中东部和西部的城市部分还可以看到零星的显著的区域。

“We still have plenty of work to do to refine this map, but it’s a real step forward,” said Martin, one of the atmospheric scientists who created the map.”We hope this data will be useful in areas that don’t have access to robust ground-based measurements.”

“我们还有大量的工作要做,来完善这张地图,但这确实是向前的迈出的一步”Martin说(其中的一位绘制地图的大气科学家),“我们希望这些数据可以对那些还未检测地表空气污染的区域带去帮助。”

Take a deep breath. Even if the air looks clear, it’s nearly certain you’ve inhaled millions of PM2.5 particles. Though often invisible to humans, such particles are present everywhere in Earth’s atmosphere, and they come from both natural and human sources. Researchers are still working to quantify the precise percentage of natural versus human-generated PM2.5, but it’s clear that both types contribute to the hotspots that show up in the new map.

让我们深呼吸一下。尽管这个空气看起来很干净,但几乎肯定你已经吸入了大量的PM物质。尽管他们对于人们不可见,这些物质分布在地球大气的任何地方,他来不仅来自于自然界还被人们制造。学者们正在精确的定量人为的和自然产生的PM的比例,但很明确这两种共同为地图上的热点做出贡献,一起呈现在地图上。

Wind, for example, lifts large amounts of mineral dust aloft in the Arabian and Saharan deserts. In many heavily urbanized areas, such as eastern China and northern India, power plants and factories that burn coal lack filters and produce a steady stream of sulfate and soot particles. Motor vehicle exhaust also creates significant amounts of nitrates and other particles. Both agricultural burning and diesel engines yield dark sooty particles scientists call black carbon.

譬如风,在阿拉伯和撒哈拉沙漠掀起了大量的矿物灰尘。在很多高速城市化的地方,譬如中国的东部和印度的背部,电厂和工厂燃烧了大量的未经过滤的煤,制造了大量的硫酸烟雾和粉尘。汽车尾气也制造了相当多的硝酸盐气体和粉尘。同时还有农业上废物的燃烧和柴油发动机也产生了很多黑灰,被称为黑炭。

Human-generated particles often predominate in urban air — what most people actually breathe — and these particles trouble medical experts the most, explained Arden Pope, an epidemiologist at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah and one of the world’s leading experts on the health impacts of air pollution. That’s because the smaller PM2.5 particles evade the body defenses—small hair-like structures in the respiratory tract called cilia and hairs in our noses—that do a reasonably good job of clearing or filtering out the larger particles.

人们产生的颗粒物经常主导着城市的空气,这些空气被大多数人们呼吸着,Arden Pope,一位杨百翰大学的流行病学家,和另一位在研究空气污染对身体健康影响这一领域的专家解释说,这些颗粒物也给医学专家制造了不少的困扰。这是因为PM物质入侵了人们的防御系统,譬如在鼻腔中的鼻毛,他们会适度的清洁或者过滤吸入的气体,排除颗粒物。

Small particles can make their way deep into human lungs and some ultrafine particles can even enter the bloodstream. Once there, they can spark a whole range of diseases including asthma, cardiovascular disease, and bronchitis. The American Heart Association estimates that in the United States alone, PM2.5 air pollution spark some 60,000 deaths a year.

一些更小的颗粒甚至可以深入到热门的肺部,还有一些特别细微的颗粒甚至可以进入到人们的血液。一旦他们到达了这些地方,它们可以引起大范围的疾病,譬如哮喘,心血管疾病和支气管炎。美国的心脏病协会统计,在美国这些小颗粒能造成每年60,000人的死亡。

Though PM2.5 as a class of particle clearly poses health problems, researchers have had less success assigning blame to specific types of particles. “There are still big debates about which type of particle is the most toxic,” said Pope. “We’re not sure whether it’s the sulfates, or the nitrates, or even fine dust that’s the most problematic.”

虽然PM作为一类物质显然会引发健康问题,研究人员还未成功的让不同的特殊的小颗粒承担他们的过错。“关于哪种才是最毒的颗粒,现在还存在着很大的争论。”Pope说,“我们还不确定是硫酸盐还是硝酸盐或者其他的微小的灰尘才是问题的关键。”


One of the big sticking points: PM2.5 particles frequently mix and create hybrid particles, making it difficult for both satellite and ground-based instruments to parse out the individual effects of the particles.

其中的一大症结:PM颗粒经常混合或者产生于混合的混进中,使得卫星或者地面监测仪很难解析出不同小颗粒产生的个别影响。

The new map, and research that builds upon it, will help guide researchers who attempt to address this and a number of other unresolved questions about PM2.5. The most basic: how much of a public health toll does air pollution take around the globe? “We can see clearly that a tremendous number of people are exposed to high levels of particulates,” said Martin. “But, so far, nobody has looked at what that means in terms of mortality and disease. Most of the epidemiology has focused on developed countries in North America and Europe.”

这幅地图已经研究人有由此建立的理论会帮助引导那些试图解决这个和其他各种各样由PM造成的未解决的问题的研究人员。最基础的是,全球有多少费用用于治理环境污染?“我们清楚的看到,数量巨大的人们被暴露在漂浮颗粒物很高的环境中,”Martin说,“但是到目前为止,没有人开始把这些和死亡或者疾病联系在一起。大多数流行病学开始关注发达国家,譬如北美或者欧洲。

Now, with this map and dataset in hand, epidemiologists can start to look more closely at how long term exposure to particulate matter in rarely studied parts of the world – such as Asia’s fast-growing cities or areas in North Africa with quantities of dust in the air – affect human health. The new information could even be useful in parts of the United States or Western Europe where surface monitors, still the gold standard for measuring air quality, are sparse.

现在,利用这张地图已经手头上收集数据的一起,流行病学家开始更深入的研究,长时间暴露在颗粒中的对人身体健康的影响这一很少在世界上被研究的领域,譬如在城市高速发展的亚洲或者空气中有大量灰尘的北非。新的信息是珍贵的,甚至会有利于部分美国或者西欧,这些拥有地面检测器,并且对于测量空气污染制定了很好的标准的区域。

In addition to using satellite data from NASA’s Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) that flies on NASA’s Terra satellite and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument that flies on both NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites, the researchers used output from a chemical transport model called GEOS-Chem to create the new map.

另外,利用NASA装载在Terra卫星上的多角度图像光谱仪以及Aqua号上的中等图像解析光谱仪的数据,研究人员可以输出化学物质传输模型(GEOS)来绘制新地图。

However, the map does not represent the final word on the global distribution of PM2.5, the researchers who made it emphasize. Although the data blending technique van Donkelaar applied provides a clearer global view of fine particulates, the abundance of PM2.5 could still be off by 25 percent or more in some areas due to remaining uncertainties, explained Ralph Kahn, an expert in remote sensing from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. and one of the coauthors of the paper.

然而,研究人员强调道,地图并不能代表全球PM的最终分布。尽管Donkelaar使用混合技术提供了清晰的全景图,由于一些不确定原因大量的PM物质,25%甚至更多仍有可能没被统计进来,Ralph Kahn解释道。

To improve understanding of airborne particles, NASA scientists have plans to participate in numerous upcoming field campaigns and satellite missions. NASA Goddard, for example, operates a global network of ground-based particle sensors called AERONET that site managers are currently working to enhance and expand. And, later next year, scientists from Goddard’s Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York will begin to analyze the first data from Glory, a satellite that carries an innovative type of instrument—a polarimeter—that will measure particle properties in new ways and complement existing instruments capable of measuring aerosols from space.

为了更好的理解空气中的悬浮颗粒物,NASA的科学家已经计划参加即将到来的活动和卫星计划。譬如NASA Goddard,操纵一个被叫做AERONET的地面监控网络,使得工作进一步扩大和加强。同时在今后的几年,来自Goddard机构的科学家,在纽约会开始首先分析来自Glory卫星的数据。这颗卫星携带了更加先进的测量设备。然后科学家通过新的方法和现有的仪器从太空来评估烟雾。

“We still have some work to do in order to realize the full potential of satellite measurements of air pollution,” said Raymond Hoff, the director of the Goddard Earth Science and Technology Center at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and the author of a comprehensive review article on the topic published recently in the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association. “But this is an important step forward.”

“我们仍然有很多工作要做,为了了解卫星测量空气污染的最大潜能,但是已经是向前迈出的最重要的一步了。”Raymond Hoff说。Raymond Hoff是Goddard Earth Science and Technology Center的指挥。

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