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Environ Sci Technol. 2003 Oct 15;37(20):4535-42.

Intercontinental transport of air pollution: will emerging science lead to a new hemispheric treaty?

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  • 1Earth Institute, Columbia University, 2910 Broadway, New York, New York 10027, USA.


We examine the emergence of InterContinental Transport (ICT) of air pollution on the agendas of the air quality and climate communities and consider the potential for a new treaty on hemispheric air pollution. ICT is the flow of air pollutants from a source continent (e.g., North America) to a receptor continent (e.g., Europe). ICT of air pollutants occurs through two mechanisms: (i) episodic advection and (ii) increasing the global background, which enhances surface concentrations. We outline the current scientific evidence for ICT of aerosols and ozone, both of which contribute to air pollution and radiative forcing. The growing body of scientific evidence for ICT suggests that a hemispheric-scale treaty to reduce air pollutant concentrations may be appropriate to address climate and air quality concerns simultaneously. Such a treaty could pave the way for future climate agreements.

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