Why Scientists Are Amazed at Oilsands Smog Levels
Air pollution report in Nature shocks even Canada's top researchers.
On any hot day Shell and Syncrude tour guides used to call the gasoline-like vapours that wafted from Fort McMurray's huge open-pit bitumen mines "the smell of money."But a new study in Nature has another name for the stench: air pollution and megacity volumes of it.
In fact the tarsands, already the largest source of climate disrupting greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, have a new grim moniker: "one of the largest sources of anthropogenic secondary organic aerosols in North America."
Researchers define "secondary organic aerosols" or SOAs as gases and particles that interact with sunlight in complex ways and that are released by both the globe's plant matter as well as fossil-burning machines and industries.