Sunlight worsens jet pollution

Chemical reactions caused by the sun’s rays worsen air pollution from idling jets at airports

By Stephen Ornes, 21:24 PM May 23, 2011

Planes await takeoff at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, one of the busiest in the world. Researchers recently found that sunlight worsens the pollution from idling planes.

In the United States, nearly 50,000 planes fly every day. They open their doors, start their engines and wait. People board, fasten their seatbelts and wait. The planes close their doors, taxi to the runway and wait. All that waiting adds up to a lot of pollution produced by the powerful jet engines as they run at low power without moving, something engineers refer to as idling.

“If you’re number 46 in line awaiting takeoff, you could spend an hour idling,” Allen Robinson told Science New...

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