AIR POLLUTION AND GREENHOUSE GASES
AIR QUALITY AND IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH
Pollutants in the outdoor air we breathe can put human health at risk, degrade our environment and influence the climate.
We spend most of our time in an enclosed space. However, many pollutants (volatile organic compounds VOC, formaldehyde, carbon dioxide, …) are emitted into the indoor air by various sources (materials, cleaning products, combustion, …).
GREENHOUSE GAS STUDY
The rapid increase of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere affects the climate in the long term, by “capturing” an increasing part of the solar radiation which warms the atmosphere too much. Soils have a crucial regulating role in storing or releasing GHGs into the atmosphere. For example, peatlands act as carbon sinks: They have stored nearly a third of the carbon accumulated in the world’s soils, thus avoiding release into the atmosphere. Agricultural soils, on the contrary, are emitters of GHGs: they emit nitrous oxide (N2O), which is a gas that contributes very strongly to the greenhouse effect and that emanates from the nitrates used to fertilize agricultural soils.
THE PLATFORMS CONCERNED
UNDERSTANDING ATMOSPHERIC POLLUTION
The PRAT platform, managed by the CNRS and the University of Orléans, studies the impact on health, climate and environment of gaseous and particulate pollutants emitted into the atmosphere by human activity (transport, pesticides, heating, industrial activities …).
FIGHT AGAINST THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT WITH PEATLANDS
Peatlands have stored 30% of the carbon accumulated in global soils. The PESAt platform, managed by the CNRS, measures peatland carbon fluxes to know if these systems still continue to store carbon, or if, under the influence of human activities and climate disruption, they release them in particular in the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas.
AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES WITH LESS IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT
The aim of the PESAa platform, managed by INRA, is to quantify greenhouse gas emissions between agricultural soils and the atmosphere. It also analyzes the effect of precision irrigation practices on agricultural production and the environmental impacts of agriculture.