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Pacific Ocean Actually Absorbs Smog

Pacific Ocean Actually Absorbs Smog
Scripps Pier via Madeleine Ball/Flickr

Oh boy, Fox News is going to have a field day with this one.

It turns out that at least some of the pollution that causes global warming (allegedly!) is actually soaked up by the very ocean beloved by the only folks who can afford to live anywhere close to it anymore - liberal Hollywood celebrities who are always yapping about global warming.

See also: Stay Away From Toxic Pacific Ocean, Experts Warn

A conspiracy theory involving Al Gore and Ed Begley, Jr. could probably help explain this. For now, the science: According to brand new research out of UC San Diego ...

 ... the ocean removes as much as 15 percent of "nitrogen oxides that build up in polluted air at night," according to UCSD summary. Nitrogen oxides are produced by vehicles, factories and power plants that burn fossil fuels. They create "photochemical smog," the school says.

The research, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was based on smog that originated in Los Angeles, according to UCSD.

(So thanks, San Diego beaches, for scrubbing our air).

Michelle Kim, a graduate student at UCSD's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, used sensitive gear at the end of Scripps Pier in La Jolla to measure molecular changes as the weather flow turned from offshore (moving south from L.A.) to onshore on the night of Feb. 20, 2013, the school says.

Pacific Ocean Actually Absorbs Smog
The instrumentation via Michelle Kim/UCSD

The gear measured "a net movement of dinitrogen pentoxide into the ocean," UCSD says in a summary. In other words, the waves ate our smog or, at least, some of it.

Tim Bertram, the UCSD assistant professor of chemistry who led the research, says:

One often neglected path is reaction at the surface of the sea. The sea has a salty, rich, organic surface with the potential for a variety of chemical reactions.

Global warming solved. Pour some ocean on it.

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