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Los Angeles Pollution

Looking down from the Hollywood Hills, with Griffith Observatory on the hill in the foreground, air pollution is visible in downtown Los Angeles on a late afternoon. A view of Los Angeles covered in smog. "Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0".

Lightmatter Golden gate bridge

The characteristic coloration for smog in California in the beige cloud bank behind the Golden Gate Bridge. The brown coloration is due to the NOx in the photochemical smog. Author: By Aaron Logan.

Los Angeles, CA from the air

View of Downtown Los Angeles, the central business district of the region. Author: Marshall Astor from San Pedro, United States.

From San Bernardino Mtns

View of the San Bernardino Valley. Author: michael h j c.

VenturaNW

A view of the Ventura MSA coast. Attribution: Antandrus at English Wikipedia.

The location in questionEdit

Golden Gate with fog

San Francisco's natural air conditioning, the fog, rolls in through the Golden Gate, covering Alcatraz Island. Author- Dicklyon.

Californian overviewEdit

California is a U.S. state on the western coast of North America. Covering an area of 163,696 sq mi (423,970 km2), California is geographically diverse. The Sierra Nevada, the fertile farmlands of the Central Valley, and the arid Mojave Desert of the south are some of the major geographic features of this U.S. state. It is home to some of the world's most exceptional trees: the tallest (coast redwood), most massive (Giant Sequoia), and oldest (bristlecone pine). It is also home to both the highest (Mount Whitney) and lowest (Death Valley) points in the 48 contiguous states.

The state is generally divided into Northern and Southern California, although the boundary between the two is not well defined. San Francisco is decidedly a Northern California city and Los Angeles likewise a Southern California one, but areas in between do not often share their confidence in geographic identity. The US Geological Surveydefines the geographic center of the state at a point near North Fork, California. 

Earth scientists typically divide the state into eleven distinct geomorphic provinces with clearly defined boundaries. They are, from north to south, the Klamath Mountains, the Cascade Range, the Modoc Plateau, the Basin and Range, the Coast Ranges, the Central Valley, the Sierra Nevada, the Transverse Ranges, the Mojave Desert, the Peninsular Ranges, and the Colorado Desert.

The climate of California varies widely, from hot desert to polar, depending on latitudeelevation, and proximity to the coast. California's coastal regions, the Sierra Nevada foothills, and much of the Central Valley have a Mediterranean climate, with warmer, drier weather in summer and cooler, wetter weather in winter. The influence of the ocean generally moderates temperature extremes, creating warmer winters and substantially cooler summers in coastal areas.

In L.A.Edit

Los Angeles (US/lɔːs ˈændʒələs);Spanish for "The Angels"; Spanish: [los ˈaŋxeles]; officially: the City of Los Angelescolloquially: by its initials L.A.) is the second-most populous city in the United States, after New York City. With an estimated population of almost four million, Los Angeles is the largest and most populous city in the state of California and the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California.

Nicknamed the "City of Angels" partly because of its name's Spanish meaning, Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, and sprawling metropolis. The city is also one of the most substantial economic engines within the nation, with a diverse economy in a broad range of professional and cultural fields. Los Angeles is also famous as the home of Hollywood, a major center of the world entertainment industry. A global city, it has been ranked 6th in the Global Cities Index and 9th in the Global Economic Power Index. The Los Angeles combined statistical area also has a gross metropolitan product of $831 billion (as of 2008), making it the third-largest in the world, after the Greater Tokyo and New York metropolitan areas. Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics and will host the event for a third time in 2028.

GeographyEdit

Los Angeles is located in a large basin bounded by the Pacific Ocean on one side and by mountains as high as 10,000 feet (3,000 m) on the others. The city proper, which covers about 469 square miles (1,210 km2), is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated county in the country. Los Angeles is the center of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, with 13.1 million residents the second largest in the United States after New York City. It is part of Los Angeles-Long Beach combined statistical area, also the second most populous in the nation with a 2015 estimated population of 18.7 million.

HistoryEdit

It was historically home to the Chumash and Tongva, Los Angeles was claimed by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo for Spain in 1542 along with the rest of what would become Alta California. The city was officially founded on September 4, 1781, by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, becoming part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood. The discovery of oil in the 1890s brought rapid growth to the city. The completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, delivering water from Eastern California, later assured the city's continued rapid growth.

In 1910, Hollywood merged into Los Angeles, with 10 movie companies already operating in the city at the time. By 1921, more than 80 percent of the world's film industry was concentrated in L.A. The money generated by the industry kept the city insulated from much of the economic loss suffered by the rest of the country during the Great Depression. By 1930, the population surpassed one million. In 1932, the city hosted the Summer Olympics.

During World War II, Los Angeles was a major center of wartime manufacturing, such as shipbuilding and aircraft. Calship built hundreds of Liberty Ships and Victory Ships on Terminal Island, and the Los Angeles area was the headquarters of six of the country's major aircraft manufacturers (Douglas Aircraft CompanyHughes AircraftLockheedNorth American AviationNorthrop Corporation, and Vultee). During the war, more aircraft were produced in one year than in all the pre-war years since the Wright brothers flew the first airplane in 1903, combined. Manufacturing in Los Angeles skyrocketed, and as William S. Knudsen, of the National Defense Advisory Commission put it, "We won because we smothered the enemy in an avalanche of production, the like of which he had never seen, nor dreamed possible.

The Richfield Tower, an Art Decolandmark of 1929, was demolished in 1969.

Following the end of World War II, Los Angeles grew more rapidly than ever, sprawling into the San Fernando Valley.[48] The expansion of the Interstate Highway System during the 1950s and 1960s helped propel suburban growth and signaled the demise of the city's electrified rail system, once the world's largest.

The 1960s saw race relations boil over into the Watts riots of 1965 which resulted in 34 deaths and over 1,000 injuries. In 1969, Los Angeles became the birthplace of the Internet, as the first ARPANET transmission was sent from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to SRI in Menlo Park.

In 1984, the city hosted the Summer Olympic Games for the second time. Despite being boycotted by 14 Communist countries, the 1984 Olympics became more financially successful than any previous, and the second Olympics to turn a profit until then – the other, according to an analysis of contemporary newspaper reports, being the 1932 Summer Olympics, also held in Los Angeles.

Racial tensions erupted on April 29, 1992, with the acquittal by a Simi Valley jury of four Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers captured on videotape beating Rodney King, culminating in large-scale riots. TheCalifornia Army National Guard, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Marine Corps were called in to assist local police in curtailing the violence. The riots were the largest in U.S. history, causing approximately $1.3 billion in damage as well as 63 deaths and over 2,000 injuries.

In 1994, the 6.7 Northridge earthquake shook the city, causing $12.5 billion in damage and 72 deaths. The century ended with the Rampart scandal, one of the most extensive documented cases of police misconduct in American history.

In 2002, voters defeated efforts by the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood to secede from the city. 

Los Angeles will host the 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games, making Los Angeles the third city to host the Olympics three times. 

BackgroundEdit

LAcityhalllookingsouth8

View of smog south from Los Angeles City Hall, September 2011. Author: Temeku.

Los Angeles Pollution

Looking down from the Hollywood Hills, with Griffith Observatory on the hill in the foreground, air pollution is visible in downtown Los Angeles on a late afternoon. A view of Los Angeles covered in smog. "Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0".

Los Angeles is the second-most populous city in the United States, after New York City. With an estimated population of almost four million,[19] Los Angeles is the largest and most populous city in the state of California and the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California.

Nicknamed the "City of Angels" partly because of its name's Spanish meaning, Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, and sprawling metropolis. The city is also one of the most substantial economic engines within the nation, with a diverse economy in a broad range of professional and cultural fields. Los Angeles is also famous as the home of Hollywood, a major center of the world entertainment industry. A global city, it has been ranked 6th in the Global Cities Index and 9th in the Global Economic Power Index. The Los Angeles combined statistical area also has a gross metropolitan product of $831 billion (as of 2008), making it the third-largest in the world, after the Greater Tokyo and New York metropolitan areas. Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics and will host the event for a third time in 2028.

The 1970's Los Angeles Photogenic Smog persistently hung over the city in the 1970s.

The expansion of the Interstate Highway System during the 1950s and 1960s helped propel suburban growth and signaled the demise of the city's electrified rail system, once the world's largest. The local geography of Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley compounded the local air pollution issues further.

Because of their locations in low basins surrounded by mountains, Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley are notorious for their smog. The millions of vehicles in these regions combined with the additional effects of the San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles/Long Beach port complexes frequently contribute to further air pollution.

Los Angeles in particular is strongly predisposed to accumulation of smog, because of peculiarities of its geography and weather patterns. Los Angeles is situated in a flat basin with ocean on one side and mountain ranges on three sides. A nearby cold ocean current depresses surface air temperatures in the area, resulting in an inversion layer: a phenomenon where air temperature increases, instead of decreasing, with altitude, suppressing thermals and restricting vertical convection. All taken together, this results in a relatively thin, enclosed layer of air above the city that cannot easily escape out of the basin and tends to accumulate pollution.

Though Los Angeles was one of the best known cities suffering from transportation smog for much of the 20th century, so much so that it was sometimes said that Los Angeles was a synonym for smog, strict regulations by government agencies overseeing this problem, including tight restrictions on allowed emissions levels for all new cars sold in California and mandatory regular emission tests of older vehicles, resulted in significant improvements in air quality. For example, air concentrations of volatile organic compounds declined by a factor of 50 between 1962 and 2012. Concentrations of air pollutants such as nitrous oxides and ozone declined by 70% to 80% over the same period of time.

The 'smog season'Edit

The smog season lasts from approximately May to October. While other large cities rely on rain to clear smog, Los Angeles gets only 15 inches (380 mm) of rain each year: pollution accumulates over many consecutive days. Issues of air quality in Los Angeles and other major cities led to the passage of early national environmental legislation, including the Clean Air Act. More recently, the state of California has led the nation in working to limit pollution by mandating low-emission vehicles. Smog is expected to continue to drop in the coming years because of aggressive steps to reduce it, which include electric and hybrid cars, improvements in mass transit, and other measures.

SmogsEdit

1943Edit

On July 26, 1943, Los Angeles, California: A smog so sudden and severe that "Los Angeles residents believe the Japanese are attacking them with chemical warfare."

late 1950s to late 1970s. Edit

A Gabrielino settlement in the area was called iyáangẚ (written Yang-na by the Spanish), which has been translated as "poison oak place". Yang-na has also been translated as "the valley of smoke". Owing to geography, heavy reliance on automobiles, and the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex, Los Angeles suffers from air pollution in the form of smog. The Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley are susceptible to atmospheric inversion, which holds in the exhausts from road vehicles, airplanes, locomotives, shipping, manufacturing, and other sources.

Smog was a problem since the late 1950s and was devastating the mid to late 1970s. Asthma was growing fast.

Members of the Highland Park Optimist Club in Los Angeles, started wearing smog-gas masks at particular, circa 1954, banquet due to that day's high smog levels.

The number of Stage 1 smog alerts in Los Angeles has declined from over 100 per year in the 1970s to almost zero in the new millennium.

Since 2006Edit

Asthma grew more so as the smog started to return in the mid 2000s and were a major problem as of 2010.

Despite improvement, the 2006 and 2007 annual reports of the American Lung Association ranked the city as the most polluted in the country with short-term particle pollution and year-round particle pollution. In 2008, the city was ranked the second most polluted and again had the highest year-round particulate pollution. The city met its goal of providing 20 percent of the city's power from renewable sources in 2010. The American Lung Association's 2013 survey ranks the metro area as having the nation's worst smog, and fourth in both short-term and year-round pollution amounts.

The attempted cureEdit

  1. Tougher state and city pollution laws in 1977 and 1978.
  2. Cleaner technology in general after since the late 1980s.
  3. Some further tougher federal laws in the late 1970s and early 1980s. 

Modern day health crisisEdit

Los Angeles air pollutionEdit

California's air is now the most polluted in the U.S.A., but it is not as bad as in Shanghai and Mexico City yet! Los Angeles has some of the most contaminated air in the country. With a population of roughly over 10 million, the Los Angeles area is a large basin with the Pacific Ocean to the west, and several mountain ranges with 11,000-foot peaks to the east and south. Diesel engines, ports, motor vehicles, and industries are main sources of air pollution in Los Angeles. Frequent sunny days and low rainfall contribute to ozone formation, as well as high levels of fine particles and dust.

Air pollution in Los Angeles has caused widespread concerns. In 2011, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Survey on Californians and the Environment showed that 45% of citizens in Los Angeles consider air pollution to be a “big problem”, and 47% believe that the air quality of Los Angeles is worse than it was 10 years ago. In 2013, the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside area ranked the 1st most ozone-polluted city, the 4th most polluted city by annual particle pollution, and the 4th most polluted city by 24-hour particle pollution.

Both ozone and particle pollution are dangerous to human health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) engaged a panel of expert scientists, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, to help them assess the evidence. The EPA released their most recent review of the current research on health threat of ozone and particle pollution.

EPA Concludes Ozone Pollution Poses Serious Health Threats:

  1. Causes respiratory harm (e.g. worsened asthma, worsened COPD, inflammation)
  2. Likely to cause early death (both short-term and long-term exposure)
  3. Likely to cause cardiovascular harm (e.g. heart attacks, strokes, heart disease, congestive heart failure)
  4. May cause harm to the central nervous system
  5. May cause reproductive and developmental harm - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Integrated Science Assessment for Ozone and Related Photochemical Oxidants, 2013. EPA/600/R-10/076F.

EPA Concludes Fine Particle Pollution Poses Serious Health Threats:

  1. Causes early death (both short-term and long-term exposure)
  2. Causes cardiovascular harm (e.g. heart attacks, strokes, heart disease, congestive heart failure)
  3. Likely to cause respiratory harm (e.g. worsened asthma, worsened COPD, inflammation)
  4. May cause cancer
  5. May cause reproductive and developmental harm-U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Integrated Science Assessment for Particulate Matter, December 2009. EPA 600/R-08/139F.

Helping the area to meet the national air quality standards and improve the health of local residents continues to be a priority for the EPA. One of EPA's highest priorities is to support the reduction of diesel emissions from ships, trucks, locomotives, and other diesel engines. In 2005, Congress authorized funding for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA), a grant program, administrated by the EPA, to selectively retrofit or replace the older diesel engines most likely to impact human health. Since 2008, the DERA program has achieved impressive out outcome of improving air quality. The EPA also works with state and local partners to decrease emissions from port operations and to improve the efficient transportation of goods through the region. Both the EPA and the Port of Los Angeles are partners of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, a sweeping plan aimed at significantly reducing the health risks posed by air pollution from port-related ships, trains, trucks, terminal equipment and harbor craft. For environmental justice, air pollution in low-income LA communities has received more attention. In 2011, the “Clean up Green up” campaign was launched to designate four low-income LA communities- Pacoima, Boyle Heights and Wilmington. This campaign aims to push green industries through incentives, including help obtaining permits and tax and utility rebates.

Although Los Angeles air pollution level has declined for the last few decades, citizens in Los Angeles still suffer from high level air pollution.

Global warmingEdit

Climate change has already affected Los Angeles with a 4 degree average temperature rise from 1878 to 2005 with a UCLA study predicting that coastal areas will rise 3 to 4 degrees in temperature and urban areas 4 to 4.5 degrees. In 2014, the fire season never finished in Southern California and studies have predicted that climate change will cause more frequent and larger fires by the end of the century. Climate change is also expected to affect sea levels which are expected to rise 5 to 24 inches from 2000 to 2050 leading to higher storm surge and waves, which could result in more extensive flooding that could threaten critical coastal infrastructure.

Los Angeles is also home to the nation's largest urban oil field. There are more than 700 active oil wells located within 1,500 feet of homes, churches, schools and hospitals in the city, a situation about which the EPA has voiced serious concerns.

Also seeEdit

  1. Photogenic smog
  2. Birmingham, Alabama smogs of the 1960s and 1970s
  3. The New York Photogenic Smogs and river polution
  4. The 'Golden Gutter' pollution affair

SourcesEdit

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