Antarctica via a NASA Image, 2017 - Chris LARSEN / NASA / AFP

The purest air in the world is that found above the waters of the Southern Ocean, at the level of the Antarctic continent. At this location, the atmosphere is entirely devoid of aerosol particles generated by human activity, said a study published Monday in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . The authors, American researchers from Colorado State University, believe that man has had no impact on air in this part of the globe.

To reach this conclusion, the specialists were interested in the layer of air which is between the water and the clouds and which feeds them. Their research was carried out on a ship sailing south after leaving Tasmania (Australia). The study authors used a bacterium present in this environment as a tool in their diagnosis.

Zero pesticide or fuel

They found no residue of pesticides, fossil fuels, wastewater or other pollutants released into the atmosphere or from other parts of the world. Other scientific work has shown in the past that air pollution by solid, liquid or gaseous particles can travel, explains CNN. These can for example be detected in geographical areas located hundreds of kilometers from the place where they were issued.

"The aerosols responsible for the characteristics of the clouds in the Southern Ocean have an obvious link with biological ocean cycles," analyzes Thomas Hill, co-responsible for the study. Antarctica seems to be spared by the dispersion of nutrients and microorganisms from the southern continents to the south ”.


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