Scientists pinpoint the cleanest air on the planet
Air over the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica is free from particles created by human activity, researchers say.
Abrar Al-HeetiVideo producer / CNET
Abrar Al-Heeti is a video host and producer for CNET, with an interest in internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. Before joining the video team, she was a writer for CNET's culture team. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
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A group of climate scientists from Colorado State University wanted to see how far particles created by human activity and industry can reach, so they sailed from Tasmania to the Southern Ocean and measured the particles in the atmosphere at different points.
They measured from the boundary layer, which is a section of the lower atmosphere that touches the ocean's surface and extends as high as 1.2 miles into the atmosphere. Scientists found that boundary layer air that feeds the lower clouds over the ocean was clean and free of particles, or aerosols, linked to human pollution or other activity.
According to the researchers, it's hard to pinpoint places on Earth that are untouched by humans, adding that the air just above the Southern Ocean is perhaps least affected by people and dust from continents.
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