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Scientists take to the skies to track West African pollution

By [email protected] - 21st September 2016 - 15:03

Scientists operating research aircraft over West Africa have detected organic materials in the atmosphere over a number of urban areas, contributing to concerns of the rise in pollution across the region. The EU-funded Dynamics Aerosols Clouds and Climate in West Africa project has investigated impacts of natural and manmade emissions on the West African atmosphere.

Three aircrafts collecting atmospheric data, were used to track coastal air pollution as it streams inland reaching the forests and the Sahara. Professor Hugh Coe, from the University of Manchester, said: “West Africa is a region that will grow and develop rapidly over the coming decades, and yet we know very little about air quality and meteorology across the region, mainly because of a lack of data.”

The organic materials detected in the atmosphere could be particles from charcoal burning, general rubbish, and agricultural waste impacting the clouds and climate in the region.