Air pollution detection by satellites: The transport and deposition of air pollutants over oceans

Research is continuing towards the possible detection of air pollution by remote sensing techniques, and satellite imagery has been examined to find evidence of cross-Atlantic transport of air pollution. Pollution masses from industrial areas are often carried out over the Atlantic Ocean by tropospheric winds. However, the pollution mass is generally steered by convergent flows and fronts of extra-tropical cyclones, and wet deposition and scavenging of air pollutants within clouds occur primarily over the cold ocean, especially during the occlusion stage of a cyclone. As a result, the oceanic area from Cape Hatteras to 1500 km ENE of Newfoundland (the SW sector of the Icelandic low area) is often a ‘dumping ground’ (sink region) for air pollution from N America.