Surprise: Man hasn’t set foot there

— MarcAndreLeTourneux /

At least that’s what researchers at the University of Colorado found, According to them, this is largely due to the fact that this area of our planet is largely untouched by human activity.



Professor Sonia Kreidenweis

Onboard a ship traveling the southern part of the globe, from Tasmania in Australia to Antarctica, the team of American scientists made an amazing discovery: the air in the Southern Ocean is the purest in the world. To reach this conclusion, the team of scientists from the university, led by Professor Sonia Kreidenweis, analyzed air samples.

During this campaign, called SOCRATES, scientists were able to measure the aerosol composition of the atmospheric boundary layer (that part of the air above the ocean but below the clouds) in the area. They found that the air in the area was almost perfect, with no aerosol particles. “We were able to use the bacteria in the air over the Southern Ocean as a diagnostic tool to infer key properties of the lower atmosphere,” explains researcher and co-author Thomas Hill in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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A pleasant surprise when we know that air pollution is a global scourge, both on health and on the environment, and is responsible for the death of 7 million people in the world every year, according to the WHO.


Although air pollution is caused by aerosols, only 10% of them are produced by human activity. The rest comes from natural sources such as volcanoes, mineral dust, pollen, or the sea salt contained in ocean spray (source “Overall, this suggests that the Southern Ocean is one of the few places on Earth that has been least affected by human activities,” says Thomas Hill.

This study also demonstrates that airborne particles are linked to oceanic processes and therefore confirms their marine origin. The composition of these aerosols also confirms that they were not transported southward by winds, as Antarctica would be isolated and less exposed.

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Antarctica is therefore an exception in terms of air pollution and a place that must continue to be spared from all human activity.

Source :

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