Today I have been thinking about emissions in Alaska. Well, there are anthropogenic emissions from the various little villages. Since these villages have often less than 100 inhabitants their emissions only locally reduce air quality. There are the major cities Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. In winter, Fairbanks has frequently air quality problems caused by emissions into the inversions. An inversion means that temperature inverses with height instead of decreasing with height. An inversion functions like a lid on a pot. Everything that is in there stays there until strong wind sweeps the polluted air away and/or the inversion breaks up. Traffic in the cities and in addition idling cars in winter, and emissions from energy production, heating, etc. are some of the urban emission sources. Traffic on the seven highways and the railroad lead to emissions along lines. Then there are emissions from air crafts. Many rural areas are off the road system and only reachable by small planes. They taxi the villagers to a larger air field from where they take a flight to either another village or one of the major airports that connect Alaska to the world. Other anthropogenic emissions stem from mining and oil production, cruise ships, fishing and shipping. The recreational sector contributes emissions from motor boots, ski jets, motorcycle, monster cars, and snow machines, etc..
To this (incomplete list) of anthropogenic emissions comes a long list of natural emissions. Alaska has many volcanoes that emit ash, sulfur dioxide, and more. Wildfires occur between May and September and emit ash, particles, CO, and a lot of other gases. Lakes on the North Slope, and thawing permafrost can emit, for instance, methane, a greenhouse gas. Then there is dust uptake by wind at the glacier outlets. In summer, algae in the Gulf of Alaska emit DMS. On land, in summer, the vegetation emits VOCs and pollen. Probably this list is not complete either.
One could think that one has to be off the highways, not to be in a settlement, to breezes pristine air. Despite of all these emissions, when there is no inversion and there are no wildfires and no volcano with an attitude in the upwind region, one breezes very pristine air.
Speaking of pollen: Here I wear a floral cardigan from summer as a blouse. Again for extra insulation, I wore a long sleeve T-shirt underneath. I added my red blazer, and full leather skirt and booties. I accessorized with my H-buckle belt. Of course, for the commute to work I added a coat, scarf, gloves and hat (not shown).
Photos: G. Kramm (2013)
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