The Impact of Combustion Emissions on the Atmosphere: New Tools and Techniques
Dr. Charles E. Kolb, '67, President, Aerodyne Research, Inc.
Description: If you're not quite sold on the link between man-made pollutants, toxic air and climate change, this lecture will extinguish any remaining doubts. Charles Kolb has chased buses, trucks and cars in Mexico City and New York City with a state-of-the-art mobile detection unit, and measured the precise quantity of gases and particulates released in the vehicles' exhaust plumes. The picture is neither pretty nor predictable: in Mexico City, vehicles released not only carbon dioxide (implicated in global warming), but a surprising amount of formaldehyde, (a known carcinogen), and ammonia. New York City diesel buses engineered to reduce soot exhaust ended up producing large quantities of an even more disagreeable pollutant. Kolb reminds us to pay attention to the really big picture the troposphere and stratosphere where many of these human chemicals do their damage. It turns out that fossil fuel combustion (from vehicles, heating, cooling and industries) sends about 28 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere on an annual basis. Green plants act as "sinks," soaking up about half of that excess, but civilization is inexorably building up this gas and driving up global temperatures.
About the Speaker(s): Charles Kolb specializes in the identification and measurement of sources and sinks of gases and aerosols involved in pollution problems. He has been a member of numerous government and National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council committees dealing with atmospheric and environmental chemistry issues. Dr. Kolb received the 1997 Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology from the American Chemical Society. He has been elected a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and has served as the atmospheric sciences editor of the journal, Geophysics Research Letters (1995-1999). He earned an S.B. in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1967, an M.A. in Physical Chemistry from Princeton University in 1968 and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Princeton University in 1971.
Host(s): School of Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering
Tape #: T17687
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