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Spike in ozone after Super Bowl expected

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- The bright light from sports stadiums like Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, may boost daytime levels of the air pollutant ozone, U.S. researchers say.

Jyllian Kemsley, associate editor of Chemical & Engineering News, says a "field campaign" in Southern California and Mexico was a far-ranging effort by land, sea and air to gain a deeper understanding of all the factors involved in air quality and climate change.

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One of the experiments involved use of detectors to measure the intensity of sunlight from an airplane, Kemsley says.

"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," Kemsley says. "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 notes cities and states trying to meet 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.

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The findings are published in Chemical & Engineering News.

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