We’ve always felt a little bit bad for Australia and New Zealand, since they’re going to get totally screwed by climate change in all sorts of ways. But maybe we shouldn’t be so sympathetic. A new study shows that flights leaving from New Zealand and Australia create more ozone pollution than any other flights. Science Daily writes:
The results showed that an area over the Pacific, around 1000 km to the east of the Solomon Islands, is the most sensitive to aircraft emissions. In this region, the researchers estimated that 1 kg of aircraft emissions — specifically oxides of nitrogen (NOx) such as nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide — will result in an extra 15 kg of ozone being produced in one year.
Ozone is actually a potent greenhouse gas — we need some of it to bounce off UV rays and keep us from dying of skin cancer, but too much of it traps heat like carbon dioxide or methane. (It’s like your favorite blanket is smothering you.)
The study looked at 83,000 flights and found that the 10 that produced the most ozone were all coming from this one corner of the world. We want to help you fight climate change, Australians, but you gotta give us something here. Maybe just try staying on your beautiful island full of weird animals and awesome ocean sports for a little while, OK?