New research has discovered that sports-stadium lighting used for night games, as well as street lights, may indeed increase the daytime levels of ozone.
The research appears in the current edition of the news magazine Chemical & Engineering News, and details what the American Chemical Society is describing as ” a classic case of scientific serendipity.”
C&EN Associate Editor Jyllian Kemsley describes a far-ranging effort by land, sea and air to gain a deeper scientific understanding of all the factors that are involved in air quality and climate change.
One of experiments involved use of detectors to measure the intensity of sunlight from an airplane.
As the plane flew over a brightly lit sports stadium, one of the crew suggested, perhaps only half seriously, turning the device on, even though it was the dead of night. Much to the scientists’ surprise, they found there was enough light to drive certain chemical reactions in the atmosphere that would boost daytime levels of ozone, one of the most prevalent and difficult-to-control air pollutants in urban areas. One of the scientists in the experiment notes in the article that cities and states, struggling to meet ever-stricter government air pollution limits, may want to consider the unexpected effects of night-time lighting of streets, sports stadiums, and other sources of bright light.
Science can apparently happen by accident, it seems.