Nitrogen Dioxide Sense and Nonsense

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

According to the National Center for Biotechnology information, we have:

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2). A highly poisonous gas. Exposure produces inflammation of lungs that may only cause slight pain or pass unnoticed, but resulting edema several days later may cause death. (From Merck, 11th ed) Nitrogen dioxide is a major atmospheric pollutant that is able to absorb UV light that does not reach the earth’s surface.

And the US Environmental Protection Agency says:

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) is one of a group of highly reactive gases known as oxides of nitrogen or nitrogen oxides (NOx). Other nitrogen oxides include nitrous acid and nitric acid. NO2 is used as the indicator for the larger group of nitrogen oxides. NO2 primarily gets in the air from the burning of fuel.

These days, we can track the sources of NO2 worldwide using the TEMIS satellite data. And here is what one of the many groups looking at the data has to say, in their map entitled “NO2 Hotspots” (click to enlarge):

These people are tying the NO2 concentrations to “thermal power plants”, meaning those fired by coal, oil or gas. And from inspection of the map, it sure looks like the power plants are to blame.

But upon closer examination, there are some strange things going on with this map. First off, the biggest source of NO2 seems to be … Angola, shown in the upper part of the graphic below.

I haven’t found anyone who has explained that hot-spot in Angola. However, someone probably has discussed it, I just couldn’t come up with an explanation.

However, there’s something that is even more curious. This is that the map-makers are playing fast and loose with the power-plant data. For example, here’s their map of Australia:

Now, if we’re to believe the map-makers, there are only about ten thermal power plants in all of Australia. Nor is this the only oddity. Much of Russia is shown as having no thermal power plants, and the same is true of other countries.

So what is going on here? Well, the satellite data is being used for political purposes. The map-makers are doing their best to convince us that power plants are the main source of nitrogen dioxide. But in fact, half or more of the NO2 in the air comes from transportation—cars, trucks, and buses. And although you have to look carefully at the map to see it, many thermal power plants don’t put out much NO2.

However, noting all of that would be detrimental to the map-makers’ goal of vilifying fossil-fuel-fired electricity, and thus advancing the cause of the expensive and intermittent alternate sources, wind and solar. It is advocacy cleverly disguised as science.

And who made the map? Well … on the map itself, it doesn’t say. And there’s no link to their home page … me, I don’t trust folks who don’t sign their work.

But when I go to the home page, by chopping off all but the first part of the URL, I arrive here and I find the following …

This is my shocked face …

w.

PS—When you comment, please quote the exact words you are discussing, so that we can all be clear on the exact subject you are talking about.

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130 thoughts on “Nitrogen Dioxide Sense and Nonsense

          • Nitrogen N2 is a stable component (80%) of the atmosphere. In the presence of 20% of O2 it does not oxidise and remove all the oxygen. When you burn flammable ‘fossil’ gas you get CO2 and H2O.

            It is the high pressure combustion in internal combustion engines which produces NOx. This is the basis of the current war on diesel engines.
            Willis:

            These people are tying the NO2 concentrations to “thermal power plants”, meaning those fired by coal, oil or gas. And from inspection of the map, it sure looks like the power plants are to blame.

            In fact the map shows just the opposite. It shows that centres of population are to blame. It further shows the position of the “thermal” power stations and allows a visual assessment of any correlation.

            Sure there tends to be power stations near where there is demand : in urbanised regions. But it does not take much effort to see that UKs larges NOx blob is in an area with no “thermal”. India is stuffed with black dots but has relatively low NOx colour coding.

            Central Africa, as pointed out, goes totally counter to the idea it is thermal power generation.

            So if this is GreenPeace’s best attempt at blaming coal, they make a very poor job of it and provide a fairly good demonstration that it is not the key source. Maybe they don’t realise that but your are putting words in their mouth, you are projection your prejudice against GP to infer what you think they are trying to show. Remember the bit about please quote the exact words you are discussing?

            And who made the map? Well … on the map itself, it doesn’t say. And there’s no link to their home page … me, I don’t trust folks who don’t sign their work.

            You fell on a URL ( somehow ) that displays an interactive map out of the context of the host site. That can happen with ANY graphic on the internet and is not malfeasance or dishonesty.

            Now go and look at what the Unearthed project is really about, it does not seem to be particularly aiming a thermal power rather than transport. There may be some interesting stuff you can lambast them for … or maybe not. But at least you can quote the exact words you are discussing.
            https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2018/05/02/air-pollution-cities-worst-global-data-world-health-organisation/
            “Five things we learned from the world’s biggest air pollution database “

          • This is that the map-makers are playing fast and loose with the power-plant data. For example, here’s their map of Australia:

            No, you are playing fast and loose with projecting motivation onto others. This is visual strawman you are doing. You look at a map , decide what you “think” they are trying to show and then argue against that position.

            The data is the data. That map allows the viewer to assess for himself any correlations which may or may not be there. I think it is quite informative if we take the time to look.

            If anyone ever tries to tell me thermal power stations cause NOx pollution, I will have a great resource to point to to blow that claim away. I’m happy to credit GP with having taken the time to make that resource available.

          • @ Greg Goodman

            You need to read the Greenpeace story that goes along with the map. You link to an unrelated (to the map) GP story. Here is a link to the story about the map …
            https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2018/10/29/nitrogen-dioxide-no2-pollution-world-map/

            In the story they state: “Mapped against known pollution sources, it shows that NO2 pollution doesn’t come from diesel pollution alone; it is also emitted by coal, oil, gas and biomass plants as well as forest fires and crop burning. ”

            Still think WE is “projecting”?

          • No, you are playing fast and loose with projecting motivation onto others.

            Greg Goodman, where have you been the last 50 yrs? ANY info/propaganda coming out of the fake-media like GP is motivated to vilify fossil-fuels. And truth. And freedom. And capitalism.

          • AJB – “Way to many cooking stoves and patio heaters…”
            Sounds like the directions on a sign with an arrow to direct people to a bunch of cooking stoves and patio heaters. Makes no sense in your post though.

          • Greg must like getting smashed, he keeps coming back for another smashing.

            Ah well, I guess some of us have to fall on the lower end of the IQ distribution.
            Greg is driven by his limbic system

          • Still think WE is “projecting”?

            Yes. Firstly because he did not read that article or comment on it nor quote from it. He formed his opinion from the allegedly “unsigned” graphic he found on the interweb.

            Yes, because his accusation was that they were suggesting thermal was the main source, which was unfounded. As we see in the quote you provide they were starting from saying most people image NOx is ONLY transport and wanted to show there were other sources.

            So, yes Willis jumped to conclusions and built a strawman out of them. Had he done as well as you did and found the article, he would have understood the graphic and the point they were ACTUALLY trying to make.

            It’s strange that having dug out the context you fail to see it confirms that Willis got it backwards.

          • Beng:

            Greg Goodman, where have you been the last 50 yrs? ANY info/propaganda coming out of the fake-media like GP is motivated to vilify fossil-fuels. And truth. And freedom. And capitalism.

            About 30y ago was when I decided GP had gone of the rails and stopped giving them money.

            Most of what they come out with now is BS. That is why they should be attacked for what they get wrong , without making shit up that they can counter because they did not say it.

    • Tom: Well it certainly covers a fair stretch of Angola, but DR Congo, Zambia are also largely covered by it. This territory gives a lie to this nonsense. So does the fact that Greenpeace hides itself as the perpetrator.

      • The DRC / Angola hotspot seems to be centred on the River Congo.
        That may be a coincidence as the Amazon doesn’t seem to peak.

        But this is Greenpeace and they would not allow a rainforest to look bad. What does the real data look like in South America?

      • If you want flaring look at Nigeria ….. only – gosh, will ya look at that – it’s not on the map….

        Greenpeace are really a bunch of …..

        • Nigeria? Of course not. A member of their Royal Family just promised not only to give me a controlling shared, but also move the entire country for me.

          Just need my banking details so he can transfer the admin costs of the freight and offset the carbon credits… 😀

  1. Good work, Willis.

    Reminds me of the claim that 73.6% of statistics are just made up.

    Somehow I doubt that Florida has 3x as many oil-fired power plants as coal-fired power plants, too.

    • That’s what I noticed too Dave. The US has converted the oil-fueled plants to natural gas. The one in East Central Florida was converted over ten years ago.

      Either the data for the power plants is seriously obsolete, or the map makers are flat out lying.

        • Steve,

          Do you really imagine that people care about the opinion of Greenpeace or you?

          The USA has voted in a Congress and Administration which find your opinions totally without merit. The rest of the world is liable to follow.

          That must suck massively.

        • Steve Heins October 29, 2018 at 6:03 pm

          “nobody cares about your opinion”

          Well I do. Guess your not accurate on anything.

          michael

          • A spelling mistake? that the best you can do?
            You were still proven wrong, my grammar does not change that.
            So I recognize my mistake how about you?

            I’m waiting and use a little self honest in you’re admitting your short sighted error.

        • PS:

          How is it that you feel qualified to speak on behalf of almost eight billion people?

          Just asking, since a lot of people care enough about my opinions to buy books and magazines containing them. And my assemblages of fact.

          Can you say the same?

          • Steve,

            It’s glaringly obvious to the most casual observer that the logical fallacy is all yours.

            How dare you presume to speak on behalf of almost eight billion people?

            Sorry, but such a delusion of grandeur borders on severe mental illness.

          • Steve, Steve
            You still don’t get it, it just took one yes just person to say your statement was incorrect and your judgement suspect
            Have at least a shred of self honesty

            michael

          • Steve,

            It takes only one person to invalidate your false on its face claim that nobody cares about my opinion.

            It might even be, quelle horreur! that a lot more people care about my opinion than yours. As in, a lot.

            Your baseless assertion to the contrary is indeed so lacking in support, that readers might well question your sanity. Who but a nobody with delusions of grandeur and competence summarily dismisses a commenter with the obviously false claim that no one anywhere on Earth cares about another commenters’ opinion?

            I would urge you please to seek professional mental health help.

          • Steve,

            What is your major malfunction?

            A lot of people care about my opinion, and pay good money to find it out,

            Many of them indeed care more about it than my beloved wife, a beautiful Chilean nurse 36 years my junior. My scientific opinions interest her a lot less than my financial decisions, which directly impact her and her six year old son, who recently suffered a stroke due to not being vaccinated for ear infections.

            Now please state everyone who cares about your opinion, and why. Thanks!

          • My opinion, doesn’t matter, just like yours doesn’t matter. I just want to know what your boyfriend thinks.

          • Steve,

            Mine matters more than yours, since people pay for mine.

            As for your boyfriend’s opinion, that is clearly a case of projection.

            Since your opinion is entirely evidence free, the level of emotional attachment of your limited circle of acquaintance might matter. In my case, not so much, since my opinions are based upon fact, ie observations, and reasoning therefrom.

            Yours, not so much. As in, not at all. But please enjoy the company of the older men who pay for your favors, such as they are. Since obviously, your youth and openings are all you’ve got going for you.

          • Steve Heins October 29, 2018 at 7:27 pm

            No, Steve, honestly, I could not possibly care less about your ill-informed, baseless opinions.

            I reply to you only in hope, probably vain, of helping you to see the light of reality, and, failing that, of responding in kind to your ad hominem lunacy. You’re bound to lose, because you’re unfamiliar, to put it mildly, with the scientific method.

            And because, clearly, you have nothing better to do than cast aspersions on your betters, ie anyone who has ever achieved anything at all in life.

          • Attention Moderator
            This portion of the thread is getting toxic and should be snipped

            michael

          • ROTFLMAO @ Tillman: “since people pay for mine.”

            People do not pay the Pope for his opinion, and obviously his opinion matters much more than yours.
            ..
            You are funny. You need a better method of evaluating your opinion.

          • LOL “projection”

            You make multiple evidence free assertions.

            Must be the same thing as your “opinions”

            LOL

            Nobody cares about your opinion

            If you think otherwise, please provide us with concrete evidence.

          • Steve,

            Easily done.

            Please pick up any copy of Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac for the past ~40 years, for starters.

            Or for Jane’s International Defense Review.

            Now please show those besides the catamites in your pay who pretend to care about your opinion. Thanks!

          • Steve Heins October 29, 2018 at 7:44 pm

            Nope. Readers for decades have based their WX related decisions on articles in my main publication venues.

            Now, again, please state all those who rely on your opinions to the extent of buying publications sharing them.

            Thanks!

          • I’m waiting for concrete proof. Assertions by you in this venue don’t matter. Nobody cares about your “opinions.”

          • Mods,

            May I ask why this obnoxious and evidence-free spewer of lies is allowed to continue regurgitating insults and falsehoods here?

            Could it be because Anthony doesn’t want to censor even the most aberrant and ad hominem speech, for fear of resembling Warmist sites?

            Sorry, but in my opinion, popup Heins richly merits banishment.

          • Steve Heins October 29, 2018 at 8:00 pm

            I’ve seen no evidence of science on your part.

            You began by calling our host a liar. From there, it was all ad hominem downhill, without a shred of science, with nothing but preposterous personal allegations.

            Please present what you imagine to be science supporting whatever crackpot position it is that you pretend to defend.

            Thanks!

            But I’m not holding my breath.

        • Name me one person that cares about your opinion Mr. Heins. You profess to be interested in science. Then give us 1 good reason why we skeptics shouldn’t mock the global warming scam.

        • Steve? A question.

          If ‘nobody cares’ about Mr Tillman’s opinion it is logical to assume that you include yourself within that group.

          So, assuming that you do not class yourself as someone who cares about Mr Tillman’s opinion, then can you explain why you seem to have dedicated so much time any effort arguing with him in the rest of the comments thread?

          Just wondering 🙂

          • I look forward to reading Mr. Tillman’s posts. He seems particularly well informed.

            I think Mr. Tillman should stop feeding the trolls, though.

            You can tell a troll by the personal attacks. If all they do is personal attacks, then they are a troll.

    • I got one of their useful idiots well wound up when they stopped me in my local High Street asking if I’d like to join. I wasn’t nasty I just ask a few questions which showed up their total lack of understanding of climate and the natural changes that have are and will continue to happen. I then finished with that I wasn’t going to support a political lobby organisation that wants to see a large part of the human race dead.

      James Bull

  2. Unsurprisingly, when you go to the TEMIS page, it bears no resemblence to the Greenpeace page. It looks like the majority of the planet’s NO2 is in the vicinity of Bejing.

  3. I call “shenanigans” on their list of oil-fired plants in the US. I checked one at random, the RockGen Energy Center in Christiana, WI and they list it as oil-fired. It is gas-fired. The same for nearby Concord, and the Whitewater Co-gen plant is listed combined cycle gas or gas-coal, not oil, and the Germantown plant is also gas-fired. It looks like the Carto product is Crapo.

  4. Willis,
    It would appear that the carto.com does visualisation of data and then hosts it for different groups.
    Greenpeace explain the map in some detail at their website https://unearthed.greenpeace.org
    which includes where they got the data from plus links to the different datasets etc. They also comment
    on the hot spots that you mention:
    “There are also some hotspots in rural areas where there are few power plants, most notably over the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and far eastern Russia. Here fire detections from satellites show that pollution can be attributed to forest fires and crop burning”

    And with regards the power plants Greenpeace state:
    “The data is the most recent available, but does not cover gas plants below 1000MW or coal and oil plants below 200MW. ”
    Which I guess explains why there are so few shown in places like Australia.

    • In other words, they mined the data until they found a form that fit their theory.
      Sounds like the rest of the GLobal warming crew.

  5. The NO2 concentration is displayed in DU — Dobson Units …

    The Dobson unit (DU) is a unit of measurement of the amount of a trace gas in a vertical column through the Earth’s atmosphere … The Dobson Unit is defined as the thickness (in units of 10 µm) of that layer of pure gas which would be formed by the total column amount at standard conditions for temperature and pressure (STP)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dobson_unit

    The map scale goes from 0.05 to 0.60 DU. The tan color that covers the eastern half of the US must be interpreted as 0.05 DU. This means that all the NO2 in the atmosphere could be compressed into a slice of air 0.5 micro meters thick at standard temperature and pressure. Not much.

    The highest concentration that the map displays is 0.60 DU. All the NO2 in the atmosphere in those locations could be compressed into a slice of air 6.0 micro meters thick. Six thousandths of a millimeter.

    The map looks scary. The numbers do not.

  6. Hi Willis I did some checking for my old stomping grounds. Milford Conn. The map shows ct light and power as a oil power plant. It is actually nat’l gas.
    if you zoom in on the Housatonic river on the Milford side (east) you can see the power plant along with the storage tanks it’s just north of I-95.
    I remember the conversion form coal to LNG and the panic when the first tank farther north was built.
    I use to drag race on Oronoque RD
    Was a fun place growing up.
    So much for having the most current information.
    Thanks for providing map, I think others should check and see if the information for their local power generation is honest.

  7. Good work Willis. You are truly a data sleuth and caught out greenpeace in the process and much more disturbing, the EPA. Heads need to roll at the EPA. Whoever at the EPA that relied on GP and not exercised due diligence in anything offered by GP needs a pink slip ASAP. What a cesspool in both organizations.

    The watchful eyes here w/ WUWT will completely shred the junk “science” and there will be squalling from those that are disturbed over it. Let the squealing begin! You have just dropped a bomb on their headquarters!

  8. Are we going full circle here? in the 60’s we had to deal with the disaster of nitrous oxides from our transportation system. That Erlich-ian “never be solved” issue responded quickly to changes to the internal combustion engine so new global threat was needed. Next we got global cooling from particulates, which responded well to scrubbers and other technology on power plants, Drat foiled again said the greenies! No matter, we transitioned to ACID rain which was easily to shown to be a local effect and easily mitigated in the few sensitive zones where it might have been a problem. The slippery slope of carbon then got us Global warming which although well played has bee sinking lower and lower on the electorates radar. Not ones to throw in the towel another live ending threat had to be cooked up. Not surprising they went back to NO. Who would remember that it was there all this insanity got started. On a positive note this could be the first tangible sign from the other side that the Grey Mare that is global warming/CC, well it ain’t what it used to be.

  9. “The world’s biggest hotspot over the three month period is Mpumalanga in South Africa, home to a cluster of a dozen coal fired power plants with a total capacity of over 32 gigawatts owned and operated by Eskom.

    “Europe’s largest hotspot is found around the Niederaussem coal plant in Germany, followed by the transport emissions hotspot covering London.

    “The analysis is based on new, publicly available data produced by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel 5P satellite between 1 June and 31 August 2018. Greenpeace is the first organisation to process the data into averaged NO2 levels on a gridded map. The 2012 EDGAR global emissions inventory was overlaid with the satellite data to indicate the probable major sources of NO2 emissions in each hotspot. See the media briefing for a full explanation of the methodology.

    “The list of the largest NO2 hotspots in the world from 1 June to 31 August this year includes well known coal-fired power plants in South Africa, Germany and India, and numerous coal-burning industrial clusters in China. Cities such as Santiago de Chile, London, Dubai and Tehran also feature prominently in the list of 50 NO2 hotspots due to transport-related emissions.”
    https://allafrica.com/stories/201810290303.html
    …………………………………..

    Yes, it’s Greenpeace. So does that AUTOMATICALLY make it uninformative?

    Other satellite images show similar patterns, or at least hotspots.
    http://www.temis.nl/airpollution/picts/no2scia_world2004.png
    ………………………………………..

    The point is, there IS an association between at least some coal plants and NO2. And Greenpeace isn’t denying transportation is also a producer of NO2.

    But people here are so eager to say Greenpeace is full of sh!t that it wouldn’t matter how rigorous their methods.

    The implications can be ignored, because it’s just Greenpeace.

    ………………………………………….
    I count 16 coal plants in Australia. Russia has scores of them.

    Angola/Congo area is interesting.

    • A few notes on the “thermal powerplant” data.

      There is one red dot in Sweden. That is technically correct. It is the Stenungsund plant. Which has been mothballed since 1998.

      On the other hand the only active coal powerplant in northern Europe at Longyearbyen, Svalbard isn’t marked. On this webcam you can see the plant (looking west), as well as the funicular railway for the coal:

      http://longyearbyen.kystnor.no/

      And the two plants in Estonia aren’t oil powered. They burn bituminous shale.

      I’m less than impressed by the data quality

    • Yes, it’s Greenpeace. So does that AUTOMATICALLY make it uninformative?

      It means it cannot be trusted. As an industrial synthetic chemists I have often worked with nitrogen oxides and compounds which produce them. They certainly are toxic and need to be controlled appropriately. But Greenpeace tells lies and exaggerates so frequently that anything they say can’t be taken at face value. If you frequently lie then you run the risk of not being believed when you do tell the truth. This article just seems to demonstrate that they are incompetent as well as dishonest.

  10. “Now, if we’re to believe the map-makers, there are only about ten thermal power plants in all of Australia.”

    Musk built us a grand big battery. Why would we need baseload?

    Also, for those not playing in South Australia (the Blackout State), our new and nominally conservative government has this week proudly started bragging how they will provide up to $6000 rebates on purchases of home back-up battery systems. This will apparently save us South Australians money on our power bills. Or something. Not building a new baseload station, rebates on batteries.

    The only reason more people don’t laugh at our state is that most of the world don’t even know we exist.

  11. You’ve missed the real junk science:

    “Exposure produces inflammation of lungs that may only cause slight pain or pass unnoticed, but resulting edema several days later may cause death. ”

    This is the way NOx is shown to be a problem, by inventing delayed deaths from exposure in the epidemiological studies. Thus anybody exposed to high NOx concentrations can be claimed killed by NOx. If you do away with the utterly unproven delay, NOx is not a problem.

    • The tar from chain smoking probably protects the lungs from NOx, as with the fine particle study earlier.

  12. An interesting feature of that map is that the dots for power plants remain the same size as you zoom, so when looking at the entire world the dots are frequently more visible that the NO2 levels. So the USA looks very red, until you zoom in and realise that it is oil fired power plant dots, not high NO2 levels.

    Lost of oddities, e.g. what is happening in Finland? There is a modest concentration over almost the entire country, including the sparsely populated north.

    • BillP October 30, 2018 at 2:07 am

      I can’t say for other states but Conn is way wrong. It lists all the Gas fired plants as oil burning.
      It the 1970s most of the coal fired plants were converted to natural gas. There was a Nuclear power station also built.

      michael

    • Yes, what is happening in the land of the thousand lakes (Finland).
      As you says BillP, almost the entire country.
      A country with mostly forrest and lakes, that must be hard to explain.

  13. So, according to these results, the world’s two largest oil shale-fired thermal power plants in Narva, Estonia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narva_Power_Plants ) are not producing any NO2 emissions?

    At the same time, Helsinki at the other side of Gulf of Finland seems to some kind of minor hot spot. If these results are for Jun-Aug, this is quite odd – coal is used only for district heating and electricity generation during winter.

  14. Until I discovered induction hobs, I was a great fan of (natural) gas cookers and, at a guess, 50% of UK households use one.
    What always had me wondering was, with those naked flames burning away in what was often a fairly small space, why more people weren’t poisoned.
    Not least of course by carbon monoxide but surely a lot of NOx was coming off those hobs.
    Maybe they are being, might explain some of the ongoing ‘stupid’

    Being of the group ‘peasant’ and ‘stix dweller’ I’ve never been connected to mains gas and can only smile at stories now about Condensing Gas Boilers – thanks to AGW are now a de-rigueur requirement in UK homes.

    Especially that the condensing part of them only works briefly at start-up but that the condensate is soo acidic it rots the boilers so badly they *MUST* be inspected annually.
    And if/when it is escorted off the premises, it will burn holes in concrete blocks/flags/paths.
    It is, or can be, very hairy scary stuff.

    But, similar to the sulphur story recently, (water soluble) nitrogen is at the very base of the food chain.
    I’d assert that it, plus oxides of sulphur combined with dust off modern farmland is what is causing Global Greening – yet another epic sensationalist misnomer – the greening is *only* really happening where highly organic soils are receiving fertiliser for the first time in their history.

    My question to these folks might be: Where did the nitrogen in the ‘Primordial Soup’ come from and what are the essential elements that go into making things called Vitamins.
    Thiamine for example: C12H17N4OS+

    It would appear that the UK is now following the US in adding Folate to all white flour, Niacin having been an essential addition for some time.
    Why?
    Remember, these are things that act on brain and nervous function – they make ‘who’ we are, what we think, our intelligence & memories, they change our personalities…………

    • Peta

      Nitrogen is very unreactive. Ordinary burning produces negligible quantities of NOx. It takes high-temperature, high-pressure combustion, which is why IC engines do produce some NOx. Gas Hobs don’t.

      The main natural non-living source incidentally is lightning bolts. Which by the way answers where the nitrogen in the “primordial soup” came from until cyanobacteria evolved.

      “the greening is *only* really happening where highly organic soils are receiving fertiliser for the first time in their history.”

      You got to be joking. You mean that places like Sahel, Kalahari, Didi Galgala and Pilbarra have “highly organic soils receiving fertilizer”? They are deserts or semi deserts. Not being farmed. Not being fertilized. But being greened:

      https://3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn.net/newman/gfx/news/hires/2013/desertsgreen.png

  15. Let’s put some of these modern values in to perspective shall we?
    Take a look at the official UK Government statistics for Atmospheric Pollution shown here
    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/681315/trends_in_air_emissions_2016.csv/preview
    The lower chart is the percentage based on 1970 being 100%.
    Also keep in mind that this was years after the 1955 Clean Air Act had already cleaned up the great Smogs of the 1950s.
    So by 2016 the following values are shown compared to 1970
    Nox reduced by 71.7%
    Sulphur Dioxide reduced by 97.2%
    PM10 Particles reduced by 73.3%
    PM2.5 Particles reduced by 78.3%

    So tell me just how did all us war time and post war kids ever survive living in the cities to now be in our 60s, 70s & 80s.
    Also remember there is far more Asthma and Allergies in our kids now than there ever was in thoe days of the great smogs.
    Yet again actual historic data makes liars of the current scaremongerers.

  16. I am curious about the very red west coast of Saudi Arabia. There are power plants in Jeddah and Abha, as well and Medina and Mecca. There are also a few desalinization plants. But it’s hard to believe that the whole coast is that “hot.”

    • Beg rule: always find the context before jumping to conclusions. GP were not suggesting thermal was the main cause. That was Willis attempting telepathy.

      Someone dug out the article and they were saying transport was not the ONLY cause, contrary to what many people think.

  17. Willis,
    Couple of questions.
    I think it’s the case that lightening fixes atmospheric Nitrogen as NO2. There are 8 million lightening strikes per day, mainly in the tropics. Is there any data how much NO2 is produced by lightening and is there a fingerprint in the maps.

  18. Question to the gurus: Any chance this is related to regional & seasonal climate?

    A previous post mentioned the data is from Jun-Aug.
    It’s usually very dry in that part of South Africa at that time of year…therefore very little of the NOx being rained out.
    It would be interesting to compare with China in wet/dry seasons.

  19. How clever. The power plants are identified by small black or red dots that auto-size so that they remain small as you zoom in. That makes them very hard to spot if they don’t happen to be sitting on a lighter colored area that shows the NOx levels.

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