Pollution, Concentration and Mortality

Pollution, Concentration and Mortality

by Clifford E Carnicom
Mar 19 2016

A preliminary analytical model has been developed to estimate the impact of increased concentrations of atmospheric fine particulate pollution (PM 2.5) upon mortality rates. The model is a synthesis between an analysis of measured pollution levels (PM 2.5) and published increased mortality estimates. The model is based, in part, upon previous investigations as published in the paper “The Obscuration of Health Hazards : An Analysis of EPA Air Quality Standards“, Mar 2016.

Models for both concentration levels and visibility have now been developed; for a related model in terms of visibility, please see the paper entitled Pollution, Visibility and Mortality, Mar 2016.

Preliminary Concentration -Exposure – Mortality Model

A substantial data base based upon direct field measurements of atmospheric fine particulate matter in the southwestern United States during the winter of 2015-2016 has been acquired. The measurements reveal clear relationships between the quality of air, the PM 2.5 concentration levels, visibility of the surrounding territory, and the existence or absence of airborne aerosol operations.

The field data shows that repeated instances of the PM 2.5 count in the range between 30-60 ug/m3 is not unusual in combination with active atmospheric aerosol operations; visibility and health impacts are obvious under these conditions. The PM 2.5 count will inevitably be less than 10 (or even 5) ug/m3 under good quality air conditions.

Additional studies based upon this acquired data may be conducted in the future. Numerous published studies make known relationships between small increases in PM 2.5 pollution and increased mortality.

 meter44Measured PM 2.5 Count, 44 ug/m3.

As an example of use of this model, if the PM 2.5 count is 44 ug/m3 as shown in the above example, and if the number of days of exposure of this level is approximately 50, then the estimated increase in annual mortality is approximately 17%. This is an extreme increase in mortality, but under observed conditions in various locales it is not beyond the range of consideration.  It is thought that reasonably conservative approaches have been adopted within the modeling process.

The field data that has been collected and this model further highlight the serious deficiencies in the current Air Quality Index (AQI) as in current use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In light of the current understanding of the health impacts of small changes in PM 2.5 counts (e.g, 10 ug/m3), a scale that gives equal prominence to values as high as 500 ug/m3 (catastrophic conditions) is an incredible disservice to the public. Please see the earlier referenced papers for a more thorough discussion of the schism between public health needs and the reporting systems that are in place.

This researcher advocates the availability of direct and real-time fine particulate matter concentration levels (PM 2.5) to the public; this information should be as readily available as current weather data is.  Cost and technology are no longer major barriers to this goal.


operation-01Active Aerosol Operation
City of Rocks, Southern N.M.

operation-02Demonstration of the Impact of Aerosol Banks Upon Visibility.
Concentration Levels and Subsequent Visibility Changes
Directly Impact Mortality.

As an incidental note, it may be recalled from earlier work that there is a strong conceptual basis for the development and application of surveillance systems that are dependent upon atmospheric aerosol concentrations. This application is only one of many that have been proposed over a period of many years, and readers may refer to additional details on this subject within the research library. Documentaries produced by this researcher (Aerosol Crimes, Cloud Cover) during the last decade also elaborate on those analyses. The principles of LIDAR apply here.

Current field observations continue to reinforce this hypothesis. Observation in the southwest U.S. indicates that two locale types appear to be preferred targets for application: these include the large urban areas and the border region between the U.S. and Mexico. These locations, considered in a joint sense, suggest that both people and the monitoring or tracking of those same people within an area may be a technical and strategic priority of the project. A citizen based systematic and sustained nationwide monitoring system of PM 2.5 concentrations over a sufficient time period can clarify this issue further.

The recent papers on the subject of air quality are intended to raise the awareness and involvement of the public with respect to environmental and health conditions. There are very real relationships between how far you can see, the concentration levels of particulates in the atmosphere, and ultimately our mortality. It is our responsibility as stewards, as well as in our own best interest, to not deliberately and wantonly contaminate the planet.

Clifford E Carnicom
Mar 19, 2016

Pollution, Visibility and Mortality

Pollution, Visibility and Mortality
Clifford E Carnicom
Mar 12 2016

A preliminary empirical model has been developed to estimate the impact of diminished visibility and fine particulate pollution upon mortality rates.  The model is a synthesis between an analysis of measured pollution levels (PM 2.5), observed visibility levels and published increased mortality estimates.  The model is based, in part, upon previous investigations as published in the paper “The Obscuration of Health Hazards : An Analysis of EPA Air Quality Standards“, Mar 2016.



Preliminary Visibility -Exposure – Mortality Model

Air pollution has many consequences.  One of the simplest of these consequences to understand is that of mortality and the degradation of health.  It would be prudent for each of us to be aware of the sources of pollution in the atmosphere, and their subsequent effects upon our well being.  Measurement, monitoring and auditing of airborne pollution is within range of the general public, and the role of the citizens to participate in these actions is of increased imperative.  The role of public service agencies to act on behalf of public health needs and interests has not been fulfilled and we must all understand and react to the consequences of that neglect.

This particular model places the emphasis upon what can be directly observed with no special means, and that is the visibility of the surrounding sky.  Visibility levels are a direct reflection of the particulate matter that is in the atmosphere, and relations between what can be seen (or not seen, for that matter) and the concentration of pollution in the atmosphere can be established.  The relationships are observable, verifiable and are well known for their impacts upon human health, including that of mortality.

All models are idealized representations of reality.  Regardless of variations in the modeling process, it can be confidently asserted that there are direct physical relationships between particulate matter in the atmosphere, the state of visibility, and your health.   There are, of course, many other relationships of supreme importance, but the objective of this article is a simple one.  It is : to look, to be aware of your surroundings, to think, to act, and to participate. The luxuries and damage from perpetual ignorance can not be dismissed or excused.

The call for awareness is a fairly simple one here.  I encourage you to become engaged;  if for nothing else than the sake of your own health.  When this has been achieved, you are in a position of strength to help others and to improve our world.  This generation has no right or privilege to deny the depths of nature to those that will follow us.



Models are one thing, real life is another.  It is time to assume your place.


Clifford E Carnicom
Mar 12, 2016

The Obscuration of Health Hazards :

The Obscuration of Health Hazards:
An Analysis of EPA Air Quality Standards

Clifford E Carnicom
Mar 12 2016

A discrepancy between measured and observed air quality in comparison to that reported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under poor conditions in real time has prompted an inquiry into the air quality standards in use by that same agency. This analysis, from the perspective of this researcher, raises important questions about the methods and reliability of the data that the public has access to, and that is used to make decisions and judgements about the surrounding air quality and its impact upon human health. The logic and rationale inherent within these same standards are now also open to further examination. The issues are important as they have a direct influence upon the perception by the public of the state of health of the environment and atmosphere. The purpose of this paper is to raise honest questions about the strategies and rationales that have been adopted and codified into our environmental regulatory systems, and to seek active participation by the public in the evaluation process.  Weaknesses in the current air quality standards will be discussed, and alternatives to the current system will be proposed.

Particulate Matter (PM) has an important effect upon human health.  Currently, there are two standards for measuring the particulate matter in the atmosphere, PM 10 and PM 2.5.  PM 10 consists of material less than 10 microns in size and is often composed of dust and smoke particles, for example.  PM 2.5 consists of materials less than 2.5 microns in size and is generally invisible to the human eye until it accumulates in sufficient quantity.  PM 2.5 material is considered to be a much greater risk to human health as it penetrates deeper into the lungs and the respiratory system.  This paper is concerned solely with PM 2.5 pollution.

As an introduction to the inquiry, curiosity can certainly be called to attention with the following statement by the EPA in 2012, as taken from a document (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2012,1) that outlines certain changes made relatively recently to air quality standards:

“EPA has issued a number of rules that will make significant strides toward reducing fine particle pollution (PM 2.5). These rules will help the vast majority of U.S. counties meet the revised PM 2.5 standard without taking additional action to reduce emissions.”

Knowing and studying the “rule changes” in detail may serve to clarify this statement, but on the surface it certainly conveys the impression of a scenario whereby a teacher changes the mood in the classroom by letting the students know that more of them will be passing the next test.  Even better, they won’t need to study any harder and they will still get the same result.

In contrast, the World Health Organization (WHO) is a little more direct (World Health Organization 2013, 10) about the severity and impact of fine particle pollution (PM 2.5):

“There is no evidence of a safe level of exposure or a threshold below which no adverse health effects occur. The exposure is ubiquitous and involuntary, increasing the significance of this determinant of health.”

We can, therefore, see that there are already significant differences in the interpretation of the impact of fine particle pollution (especially from an international perspective), and that the U.S. EPA is not exactly setting a progressive example toward improvement.

Another topic of introductory importance is that of the AQI, or “Air Quality Index” that has been adopted by the EPA (“Air Quality Index – Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia” 2016).  This index is of the “idiot light” or traffic light style, where green means all is fine, yellow is to exercise caution, and red means that we have a problem.  The index, therefore, has the following appearance:

There are other countries that use a similar type of index and color-coded scheme.  China, for example, uses the following scale (“Air Quality Index – Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia” 2016):


As we continue to examine these scale variations, it will also be of interest to note that China is known to have some of the most polluted air in the world, especially over many of the urban areas.

Not all countries, jurisdictions or entities , however, use the idiot light approach that employs an arbitrary scaling method that is removed from showing the actual PM 2.5 pollution concentrations, such as those shown from the United States and China above.  For example, the United Kingdom uses a scale (“Air Quality Index – Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia” 2016) that is dependent upon actual PM 2.5 concentrations, as is shown below:

Notice that the PM 2.5 concentration for the U.K. index is directly accessible and that the scaling for the index is dramatically different than that for the U.S. or China.  In the case of the AQI used by the U.S. and China (and other countries as well), a transformed scale runs from 0 to 300-500 with concentration levels that are generally more obscure and ambiguous within the index.  In the case of the U.K index, the scale directly reports with a specific PM 2.5 concentration level with a maximum (i.e., ~70 ug/m^3) that is far below that incorporated into the AQI index (i.e., 300 – 500 ug/m^3).

We can be assured that if a reading of 500 ug/m^3 is ever before us, we have a much bigger problem on our hands than discussions of air quality.  The EPA AQI is heavily biased toward extreme concentration levels that are seldom likely to occur in practical affairs; the U.K. index gives much greater weight to the lower concentration levels that are known to directly impact health, as reflected by the WHO statement above.

Major differences in the scaling of the indices, as well as their associated health effects, are therefore hidden within the various color schemes that have been adopted by various countries or jurisdictions.  Color has an immediate impact upon perception and communication; the reality is that most people will seldom, if ever, explore the basis of such a system as long as the message is “green” under most circumstances that they are presented with.  The fact that one system acknowledges serious health effects at a concentration level of  50 – 70 ug/m^3 and that another does not do so until the concentration level is on the order of 150 – 300 ug/m^3 is certainly lost to the common citizen, especially when the scalings and color schemes chosen obscure the real risks that are present at low concentrations.

The EPA AQI system appears to have its roots in history as opposed to simplicity and directness in describing the pollution levels of the atmosphere, especially as it relates to the real-time known health effects of even short-term exposure to lower concentration PM 2.5 levels.  The following statement (“Air Quality Index | World Public Library” 2016) acknowledges weaknesses in the AQI since its introduction in 1968, but the methods are nevertheless perpetuated for more than 45 years.

“While the methodology was designed to be robust, the practical application for all metropolitan areas proved to be inconsistent due to the paucity of ambient air quality monitoring data, lack of agreement on weighting factors, and non-uniformity of air quality standards across geographical and political boundaries. Despite these issues, the publication of lists ranking metropolitan areas achieved the public policy objectives and led to the future development of improved indices and their routine application.”

The system of color coding to extreme and rarified levels with the use of an averaged and biased scale versus one that directly reports the PM 2.5 concentration levels in real time is an artifact that is divorced from current observed measurements and the knowledge of the impact of fine particulates upon human health.

The reporting of PM 2.5 concentrations directly along with a more realistic assessment of impact upon human health is hardly unique to the U.K. index system. With little more than casual research, at least three other independent systems of measurement have been identified that mirror the U.K. maximum scaling levels along with the commensurate PM 2.5 counts. These include the World Health Organization, a European environmental monitoring agency, and a professional metering company index scale (World Health Organization 2013, 10) (“Air Quality Now – About US – Indices Definition” 2016) (“HHTP21 Air Quality Meter, User Manual, Omega Engineering” 2016, 10).

As another example to gain perspective between extremes and maximum “safe” levels of PM 2.5 concentrations, we can recall an event that occurred in Beijing, China during November 2010, and that was reported by the New York Times in January of 2013 (Wong 2013) .  During this extreme situation, the U.S. Embassy monitoring equipment registered a PM 2.5 reading of 755, and the story certainly made news as the levels blew out any scale imaginable, including those that set maximums at 500.

An after statement within the article that references the World Health Organization standards may be the lasting impression that we should carry forward from the horrendous event, where it is stated that:

“The World Health Organization has standards that judge a score above 500 to be more than 20 times the level of particulate matter in the air deemed safe.”

Not withstanding the fact that WHO also states that no there is no evidence of any truly “safe” level of particulate matter in the atmosphere, we can nevertheless back out of this statement that a maximum “safe” level for the PM 2.5 count, as assessed by WHO, is approximately 25 ug / m^3.  This statement alone should convince us that we must pay close attention to the lower levels of pollution that enter into the atmosphere, and that public perception should not be distorted by scales and color schemes that usually only affect public perception when they number into the hundreds.

Let us gain a further understanding of how low concentration levels and small changes affect human health and, shall I daresay, mortality. The case for low PM 2.5 concentrations being seriously detrimental to human health is strong and easy to make.  Casual research on the subject will uncover a host of research papers that quantify increased mortality rates with direct relationship to small changes in PM 2.5 concentrations, usually expressing a change in mortality per 10 ug / m^3.  Such papers are not operating in the arena of scores to hundreds of micrograms per cubic meter, but on the order of TEN micrograms per cubic meter.  This work underscores the need to update the air quality standards, methods and reporting to the public based upon current health knowledge, instead of continuing a system of artifacts based upon decades old postulations.

These papers will refer to both daily mortality levels as well as long term mortality based upon these “small” increases in PM 2.5 concentrations.  The numbers are significant from a public health perspective.  As a representative article, consider the following recent published paper in Environmental Health Perspectives in June of 2015, under the auspices of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences(Shi et al. 2015) :




with the following conclusions:




as based upon the following results:




Let us therefore assume a more conservative increase of 2% mortality for a short-term exposure (i.e., 2 day) per TEN (not 12, not 100, not 500 per AQI scaling) micrograms per cubic meter.  Let us assume a mortality increase of 7% for long term exposure (i.e, 365 days).

Let us put these results into further perspective.  A sensible question to ask is, given a certain level of fine particulate pollution introduced into the air for a certain number of days within the year, how many people would die as a consequence of this change in our environment?  We must understand that the physical nature of the particulates is being ignored here (e.g., toxicity, solubility, etc.) other than that of the size being less than 2.5 microns.

The data results suggest a logarithmic form of influence, i.e. a relatively large effect for short term exposures, and a subsequently more gradual impact for long term exposure.  A linear model is the simplest approach, but it also is likely to be too modest in modeling the mortality impact. For the purpose of this inquiry, a combined linear-log approach will be taken as a reasonably conservative approach.

The model developed, therefore, is of the form:

Mortality % Increase (per 10ug/m^3) = 1.65 +. 007(days) + 0.48 * ln(days)

The next step is to choose the activity level and time period for which we wish to model the mortality increase.  Although any scenario within the data range could be chosen, a reasonably conservative approach will also be adopted here.  The scenario chosen will be to introduce 30 ug/m^3 of fine particulate matter into the air for 10% of the days within a year.

The model will therefore estimate a 3.6% increase in mortality for 10 ug/ m^3 of introduced PM 2.5 materials (36.5 days).  For 30 ug/m^3, we will therefore have a a 10.9% increase in mortality.  As we can see, the numbers can quickly become significant, even with relatively low or modest PM 2.5 increases in pollution.

Next we transform this percentage into real numbers. During the year of 2013, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 2,596,993 people died during that year from all causes combined (“FastStats” 2016).  The percentage of 10.9% increase applied to this number results in 283, 072 additional projected deaths per year.

Continuing to place this number into perspective, this number exceeds the number of deaths that result from stroke, Alzheimer’s, and influenza and pneumonia combined (i.e, 5th, 6th, and 8th leading causes of death) during that same year.  The number is also much higher than the death toll for Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease (COPD), which is now curiously the third leading cause of death.

We should now understand that PM 2.5 pollution levels are a very real concern with respect to public health, even at relatively modest levels.  Some individuals might argue that such a scenario could never occur, as the EPA has diminished the PM 2.5 standard on an annual basis down to 12 ug/m^3.  The enforcement and sensitivity of that measurement standard is another discussion that will be reserved for a later date.  Suffice it to say that the scenario chosen here is not unduly unrealistic here for consideration, and that it is in the public’s interest to engage themselves in this discussion and examination.



The next issue of interest to discuss is that of a comparison between different air quality scales in some detail.  In particular, the “weighting”, or influence, of lower concentration levels vs. higher concentration levels will be examined.  This topic is important because it affects the interpretation by the public of the state of air quality, and it is essential that the impacts upon human health are represented equitably and with forthrightness.

The explanation of this topic will be considerably more detailed and complex than the former issues of “color coding” and mortality potentials, but it is no less important.  The results are at the heart of the perception of the quality of the air by the public and its subsequent impact upon human health.

To compare different scales of air quality that have been developed; we must first equate them.  For example, if one scale ranges from 1 to 6, and another from 0 to 10, we must “map”, or transform them such that the scales are of equivalent range.  Another need in the evaluation of any scale is to look at the distribution of concentration levels within that same scale, and to compare this on an equal footing as well.  Let us get started with an important comparison between the EPA AQI and alternative scales that deserve equal consideration in the representation of air quality.

Here is the structure of the EPA AQI in more detail (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2012, 4) .


 AQI Index AQI Abitrary Numeric  AQI Rank PM 2.5 (ug/m^3) 24 hr avg.
Good  0-50  1  0-12
Moderate  51-100  2  12.1-35.4
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  101-150  3  35.5-55.4
Unhealthy  151-200  4  55.5-150.4
Very Unhealthy  201-300  5  150.5-250.4
Hazardous  301-500  6  250.5-500


Now let us become familiar with three alternative scaling and health assessment scales that are readily available and that acknowledge the impact of lower PM 2.5 concentrations to human health:


United Kingdom Index U.K. Nomenclature PM 2.5 ug/m3 24 hr avg.
1 Low 0-11
2 Low 12-23
3 Low 24-35
4 Moderate 36-41
5 Moderate 41-47
6 Moderate 48-53
7 High 54-58
8 High 59-64
9 High 65-70
10 Very High >=71


Now for a second alternative air quality scale, this being from Air Quality Now, a European monitoring entity:


Air Quality Now EU Rank Nomenclature PM 2.5  Hr PM 2.5 24 Hrs.
1 Very Low 0-15 0-10
2 Low 15-30 10-20
3 Medium 30-55 20-30
4 High 55-110 30-60
5 Very High >110 >60


And lastly, the scale from a professional air quality meter manufacturer:


Professional Meter Index Nomenclature PM 2.5 ug/m^3 Real Time Concentration
0 Very Good 0-7
1 Good 8-12
2 Moderate 13-20
3 Moderate 21-31
4 Moderate 32-46
5 Poor 47-50
6 Poor 52-71
7 Poor 72-79
8 Poor 73-89
9 Very Poor >90


We can see that the only true common denominator between all scaling systems is the PM 2.5 concentration.  Even with the acceptance of that reference, there remains the issue of “averaging” a value, or acquiring maximum or real time values.  Setting aside the issue of time weighting as a separate discussion, the most practical means to equate the scaling system is to do what is mentioned earlier:  First, equate the scales to a common index range (in this case, the EPA AQI range of 1 to 6 will be adopted).  Second, inspect the PM 2.5 concentrations from the standpoint of distribution, i.e., evaluate these indices as a function of PM 2.5 concentrations.  The results of this comparison follow below, accepting the midpoint of each PM 2.5 concentration band as the reference point:

PM 2.5 (ug/m^3) EPA AQI UK EU (1hr) Meter
1-10 1 1 1 1
10-20 2 1.6 1 2.1
20-30 2 2.1 2.2 2.7
30-40 2 2.1 3.5 3.2
40-50 3 3.2 3.5 3.2
50-60 3 4.3 3.5 4.3
60-80 4 5.4 4.8 4.9
80-100 4 6 4.8 6
100-150 4 6 6 6
150-200 4 6 6 6
200-250 5 6 6 6
250-300 5 6 6 6
300-400 6 6 6 6
400-500 6 6 6 6


This table reveals the essence of the problem; the skew of the EPA AQI index toward high concentrations that diminishes awareness of the health impacts from lower concentrations can be seen within the tabulation. 

This same conclusion will be demonstrated graphically at a later point.

Now that all air quality scales are referenced to a common standard, i.e., the PM 2.5 concentration), the general nature of each series can be examined via a regression analysis.  It will be found that a logistical function is a favored functional form in this case and the results of that analysis are as follows:

EPA Index (1-6) = 5.57 / (1 + 2.30 * exp(-.016 * PM 2.5))
Mean Square Error = 0.27

Mean (UK – EU – Meter) Index (1-6) = 6.03 / (1 + 5.65 * exp(-.046 * PM 2.5))
Mean Square Error = 0.01

The information that will now be of value to evaluate the weighting distribution applied to various concentration levels is that of integration of the logistical regression curves as a function of bandwidth.  The result of the integration process (Int.) applied to the above regressions is as follows:

PM 2.5 Band EPA AQI (Int.)
[Index * PM 2.5]
Mean Index (Int.)
[Index * PM 2.5]
% Relative Overweight or Underweight of PM 2.5 Band Contribution Between EPA AQI and Mean Alternative Air Quality Index Scale (Endpoint Bias Removed)
1-10 16.1 10.1 +42%
10-20 19.8 15.8 +27%
20-30 21.9 21.6 +8%
30-40 24.1 28.3 -10%
40-50 26.3 35.2 -27%
50-60 28.5 41.5 -39%
60-80 63.6 98.0 -47%
80-100 72.1 110.4 -46%
100-150 211.7 295.0 -32%
150-200 243.7 300.8 -16%
200-250 261.7 301.4 -8%
250-300 270.7 301.5 -4%
300-400 551.8 603.0 -2%
400-500 555.9 603.0 0%


A graph of a regression curve to the % Relative Overweight/Underweight data in the final column of the table above is as follows (band interval midpoints selected; standard error = 4.1%).


EPA Underweight Function Feb 09 2016 - 01


And, thus, we are led to another interpretation regarding the demerits of the EPA AQI.  The EPA AQI scaling system unjustifiably under-weights the harmful effects of PM 2.5 concentrations that are most likely to occur in real world, real time, daily circumstances.  The scale over-weights the impacts of extremely low concentrations that have little to no impact upon human health.  And lastly, when the PM 2.5 concentrations are at catastrophic levels and the viability of life itself is threatened, all monitoring sources, including the EPA, are in agreement that we have a serious situation.  One must seriously question the public service value under such distorted and disproportionate representation of this important monitor of human health, the PM 2.5 concentration.



Let us proceed to an additional serious flaw in the EPA air quality standards, and this is the issue of averaging the data. It will be noticed that the current standard for EPA PM 2.5 air quality is 12 ug/m^3 , as averaged over a 24 hour period. On the surface, this value appears to be reasonably sound, cautious and protective of human health. A significant problem, however, occurs when we understand that the value is averaged over a period of time, and is not reflective of real-time dynamic conditions that involve “short-term” exposures.

To begin to understand the nature of the problem, let us present two different scenarios:

Scenario One:

In the first scenario, the PM 2.5 count in the environment is perfectly even and smooth, let us say at 10 ug/m^3. This is comfortably within the EPA air quality standard “maximum” per a 24 hour period, and all appears well and good.

Scenario Two:

In this scenario, the PM 2.5 count is 6 ug/m^3 for 23 hours out of 24 hours a day. For one hour per day, however, the PM 2.5 count rises to 100 ug/m^3, and then settles down back to 6 ug/m^3 in the following hour.

Instinctively, most of us will realize that the second scenario poses a significant health risk, as we understand that maximum values may be as important (or even more important) than an average value. One could equate this to a dosage of radiation, for example, where a short term exposure could produce a lethal result, but an average value over a sufficiently long time period might persuade us that everything is fine.

And this, therefore, poses the problem that is before us.

In the first scenario, the weighted average PM 2.5 count over a 24 hour period is 10 ug/ m^3.

In the second scenario, the weighted average PM 2.5 count over a 24 hour period is 10 ug/m^3.

Both scenario averages are within the current EPA air quality maximum pollution standards.

Clearly, this method has the potential for disguising significant threats to human health if “short-term” exposures occur on any regular basis. Observation and measurement will show that they do.

Now that we have seen some of the weaknesses of the averaging methods, let us look at an additional scenario based upon more realistic data, but that continues to show a measurable influence upon human health. The scenario selected has a basis in recent and independently monitored PM 2.5 data.

The situation in this case is as follows:

This model scenario will postulate that the following conditions are occurring for approximately 10% of the days in a year. For that period, let us assume that for 13.5 hours of the day that the PM 2.5 count is essentially nil at 2 ug/m^3. For the remaining 10.5 hours of the day during that same 10% of the year, let us assume the average PM 2.5 count is 20 ug/m^3. The range of the PM 2.5 count during the 10.5 hour period is from 2 to 60 ug/m^3, but the average of 20 ug/m^3 (representing a significant increase) will be the value required for the analysis. For the remainder of the year very clean air will be assumed at a level of 2 ug/m^3 for all hours of the day.

A more extended discussion of the nature of this data is anticipated at a later date, but suffice it to say that the energy of sunlight is the primary driver for the difference in the PM 2.5 levels throughout the day.

The next step in the problem is to determine the number of full days that correspond to the concentration level of 20 ug/m^3, and also to provide for the fact that the elevated levels will be presumed to exist for only 10% of the year.  The value that results is:

0.10 * (365 days) * (10.5 hrs / 24 hrs) = 16 full days of 20 ug/m^3 concentration level.

As a reference point, we can now estimate the increase in mortality that will result for an arbitrary 10 ug/m^3 (based upon the relationship derived earlier):

Mortality % Increase (per 10ug/m^3) = 1.65 +. 007(16 days) + 0.48 * ln(16 days)


Mortality % Increase (per 10ug/m^3) = 3.1%

The increase in this case is 18 ug/m^3 (20 ug/m^2 – 2 ug/m^3), however, and the mortality increase to be expected is therefore:

Mortality % Increase (per 18ug/m^3 increase) = 1.8 * 3.1% = 5.6%.

Once again, to place this number into perspective, we translate this percentage into projected deaths (as based upon CDC data, 2013):

.056 * (2, 596, 993) = 145, 431 projected additional deaths.

This value is essentially equivalent (again, curiously) to the third leading cause of death, namely Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease (COPD), with a reported value of deaths for 2013 of 149, 205.

It is understood that a variety of factors will ultimately lead to mortality rates, however, this value may help to put the significance of  “lower” or “short-term” exposures to PM 2.5 pollution into perspective.

It should also be recalled that the averaging of PM 2.5 data over a 24 hour period can significantly mask the influences of such “short-term” exposures.

A remaining issue of concern with respect to AQI deficiencies is its accuracy in reflecting real world conditions in a real-time sense. The weakness in averaging data has already been discussed to some extent, but the issue in this case is of a more practical nature. Independent monitoring of PM 2.5 data over a reasonably broad geographic area has produced direct visible and measurable conflicts in the reported state of air quality by the EPA.

After close to twenty years of public research and investigation, there is no rational denial that the citizenry is subject to intensive aerosol operations on a regular and frequent basis. These operations are conducted without the consent of that same public. The resulting contamination and pollution of the atmosphere is harmful to human health.  The objective here is to simply document the changes in air quality that result from such a typical operation, and the corresponding public reporting of air quality by the EPA for that same time and location.

Multiple occasions of this activity are certainly open to further examination, but a representative case will be presented here in order to disclose the concern.



Typical Conditions for Non- Operational Day.
Sonoran National Monument – Stanfield AZ


Aerosol Operation – Early Hours
Jan 19 2016 – Sonoran National Monument – Stanfield AZ


Aerosol Operation – Mid-Day Hours
Jan 19 2016 – Sonoran National Monument – Stanfield AZ



EPA Website Report at Location and Time of Aerosol Operation.
Jan 19 2016 – Sonoran National Monument – Stanfield AZ
Air Quality Index : Good
Forecast Air Quality Index : Good
Health Message : None

Current Conditions : Not Available
(“AirNow” 2016)


The PM 2.5 measurements that correlate with the above photographs are as follows:

With respect to the non-operational day photograph, clean air can and does exist at times in this country, especially in the more remote portions of the southwestern U.S. under investigation.  It is quite typical to have PM 2.5 counts from 2 to 5 ug/m^3, which fall under the category of very good air quality by any index used.  Low PM 2.5 counts are especially prone to occur after periods of heavier rain, as the materials are purged from the atmosphere.  The El Nino influence has been especially influential in this regard during the earlier portion of this winter season.  Visibility conditions of the air are a direct reflection of the PM 2.5 count.

On the day of the aerosol operation, the PM 2.5 counts were not low and the visibility down to ground level was highly diminished.  The range of values throughout the day were from 2 to 57, with the low value occurring prior to sunrise and post sundown.  The highest value of 57 occurred during mid-afternoon.  A PM 2.5 value of 57 ug/m^3 is considered poor air quality by many alternative and contemporary air quality standards, and the prior discussions on mortality rates for “lower” concentrations should be consulted above.  This high value has no corollary, thus far, during non-aerosol-operational days.  From a common sense point of view, the conditions recorded by both photograph and measurement were indeed unhealthy.  Visibility was diminished from a typical 70 miles + in the region to a level of approximately 30 miles during the operational period.  Please refer to the earlier papers (Visibility Standards Changed, March 2001 and Mortality vs. Visibility, June 2004; also additional papers) for additional discussions related to these topics.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports no concerns, no immediate impact, nor any potential impact to health or the environment during the aerosol operation at the nearest reporting location.



This paper has reviewed several factors that affect the interpretation of the Air Quality Index (AQI) as it has been developed and is used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In the process, several shortcomings have been identified:

1. The use of a color scheme strongly affects the perception of the index by the public. The colors used in the AQI are not consistent with what is now known about the impact of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) to human health. The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges that there are NO known safe levels of fine particulate matter, and the literature also acknowledges the serious impact of low concentration levels of PM 2.5, including increased mortality.

2. The scaling range adopted by the AQI is much too large to adequately reveal the impact of the lower concentration levels of PM 2.5 to human health. A range of 500 ug/m^3 attached to the scale when mortality studies acknowledge significant impact at a level of 10 ug/m^3 is out of step with current needs by the public.

3. The underweighting of the lower PM 2.5 concentration levels relative to more contemporary scales that adequately emphasize lower level health impacts obscures health impacts which deserve more prominent exposure.

4. The AQI numeric scale is divorced from actual PM 2.5 concentration levels. The arbitrary scaling has no direct relationship to existing and actual concentrations of mass to volume ratios. The actual conditions of pollution are therefore hidden by an arbitrary construct that obscures the impact of pollution to human health.

5. The AQI is a historic development that has been maintained in various incarnations and modifications since its origin more than 45 years ago. The method of presentation and computation is obtuse and appears to exist as a legacy to the past rather than directly portraying pollution health risks.

6. The averaging of pollution data over a time period that filters out short term exposures of high magnitude is unnecessary and it hinders the awareness of the actual conditions of exposure to the public.

7. Presentation of air quality information through the authorized portal appears to present potential conflicts between reported information and actual field condition observation, data and measurement.


In the opinion of this researcher the AQI, as it exists, should be revamped or discarded. Allowing for catastrophic pollution in the development of the scale is commendable, but not if it interferes with the presentation of useful and valuable information to the public on a practical and daily basis.

There is a partial analogy here with the scales used to report earthquakes and other natural events, as they are of an exponential nature and they provide for extreme events when they occur. It is now known, however, that very low levels of fine particulate matter are very harmful to human health. Any scaling chosen to represent the state of pollution in the atmosphere must correspondingly emphasize and reveal this fact. This is what matters on a daily basis in the practical affairs of living; the extreme events are known to occur but they should not receive equal (or even greater) emphasis in a daily pollution reporting standard. It is primarily a question of communicating to the public directly in real-time with actual data, versus the adherence to decades old legacies and methods that do not accurately portray modern pollution and its sources.

It seems to me that a solution to the problem is fairly straightforward; this issue is whether or not such a transformation can be made on a national level and whether or not it has strong public support. Many other scaling systems have already made the switch to emphasize the impact of lower level concentrations to human health; this would seem to be admirable based upon the actual needs of society.

It is a fairly simple matter to reconstruct the scale for an air quality index. THE SIMPLEST SOLUTION IS TO REPORT THE CONCENTRATION LEVELS DIRECTLY, IN REAL TIME MODE. For example, if the PM 2.5 pollution level at a particular location is, for example, 20 ug/m^3, then report it as such. This is not hard to do and technology is fully supportive of this direct change and access to data. We do not average our rain when it rains, we do not average our sunlight when we report how clear the sky is, we do not average the cloud cover, and we do not average how far we can see. The environmental conditions exist as they are, and they should be reported as such. There is no need to manipulate or “transform” the data, as is being done now. A linear scale can also be matched fairly well to the majority of daily life needs, and the extreme ranges can also be accommodated without any severe distortion of the system. The relationship between visibility and PM 2.5 counts will be very quickly and readily assimilated by the public when the actual data is simply available in real-time mode as it needs to be and should be. Of course, greater awareness of the public of the actual conditions of pollution may also lead to a stronger investigation of their source and nature; this may or may not be as welcome in our modern society. I hope that it will be, as the health of our generation, succeeding generations, and of the planet itself is dependent upon our willingness to confront the truths of our own existence.

Clifford E Carnicom
Mar 12, 2016

Born Clifford Bruce Stewart
Jan 19, 1953



“AirNow.” 2016. Accessed March 13. https://www.airnow.gov/.

“Air Quality Index | World Public Library.” 2016. Accessed March 13. http://www.worldlibrary.org/articles/air_quality_index.

“Air Quality Index – Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.” 2016. Accessed March 13. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_quality_index.

“Air Quality Now – About US – Indices Definition.” 2016a. Accessed March 13. http://www.airqualitynow.eu/about_indices_definition.php.
———. 2016b. Accessed March 13. http://www.airqualitynow.eu/about_indices_definition.php.

“FastStats.” 2016. Accessed March 13. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm.

“HHTP21 Air Quality Meter, User Manual, Omega Engineering.” 2016.

Shi, Liuhua, Antonella Zanobetti, Itai Kloog, Brent A. Coull, Petros Koutrakis, Steven J. Melly, and Joel D. Schwartz. 2015. “Low-Concentration PM2.5 and Mortality: Estimating Acute and Chronic Effects in a Population-Based Study.” Environmental Health Perspectives 124 (1). doi:10.1289/ehp.1409111.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2012. “Revised Air Quality Standards for Particle Pollution and Updates to the Air Quality Index (AQI).”

Wong, Edward. 2013. “Beijing Air Pollution Off the Charts.” The New York Times, January 12. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/science/earth/beijing-air-pollution-off-the-charts.html.

World Health Organization. 2013. “Health Effects of Particulate Matter, Policy Implications for Countries in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia.”


Clifford E Carnicom
Mar 08 2011

Note: I am not offering any medical advice or diagnosis with the presentation of this information. I am acting solely as an independent researcher providing the results of extended observation and analysis of unusual biological conditions that are evident.  Each individual must work with their own health professional to establish any appropriate course of action and any health related comments in this paper are solely for informational purposes and they are from my own perspective.

A new, or modified, form of cultured growth has been developed from human oral filament samples that are characteristic of the so-called “Morgellons” condition.  Three unique features characterize this particular filament type of culture growth:

1. The growth rate is explosive, transforming itself from a film layer to a dense sheet of filaments as shown below within a 24 hour period.

2.  The growth type, and/or the growth rate, appears to be dependent upon the introduction of a specific visible light frequency range into the culture process.

3. The size, i.e., diameter, of the “filaments” is much greater than that previously studied in detail on this site.

The photographs from the laboratory session will now be described in greater detail below:

frequency 1

The new, or modified, filament growth culture that has developed.  The origin of the culture is a human oral filament sample.  The culture medium is red wine. The bulk of the growth that is shown here occurred within a 24 hour period, with an incubation period of approximately 5 to 7 days. The only known variation in the culturing process, relative to previous culture work over recent years, is subjecting the culture to a specific frequency range of visible light.  The frequency (blue light) has been chosen as a result of spectral analyses that have recently been conducted and reported on in this site.

One of the more important findings of this current research is that the application of certain frequencies, or their harmonics, may play a highly significant role in the various manifestations that the underlying “organism” may assume.  This may act in a highly detrimental fashion to the host; in this case, the human being.  The rate of growth of the organism under the conditions investigated here may also seriously hinder any efforts to mitigate or inhibit its influence within the human body.  The research also points out the extreme risks that may exist in “experimenting” with the use of frequency protocols without proper controls and without knowledge of the underlying physiological and physical processes involved.  

As one example of consideration, the speed of an electromagnetic wave within the body is a variable and therefore any frequency or its harmonic that is under consideration is also expected to vary by target location. The discovery reported here adds a new layer of complexity to the research that has been discussed on this site.

A close-up view of the modified growth form that has been developed. The growth rate of this form is remarkable and the topology of the culture is quite complex under higher magnification.   At this point, no additional information on the internal nature of the growth is known.  Additional microscopic and spectral analyses will need to be conducted in the future to determine if there is correspondence with previous growth forms that have been analyzed in detail. The circumstances of growth are identical to that of previous work, i.e., the introduction of human oral filament samples within a red wine base; what differs is the illumination of the petri culture dishes with light of a specific frequency chosen from earlier absorption analysis. It will be noticed that a strong and sharp absorption peak at approximately 375 nanometers (nm) has been identified in the previous report; this corresponds to the blue portion of the visible light spectrum. Tentative work some months past involving the use of this frequency range was applied and observed effects upon culture growth were observed.  As a result of the more exact, detailed and verified spectral analysis of recent weeks, the determination of the influence of this frequency has been pursued with greater vigor.  Magnification 10x.

frequency 4

Another close-up view of the modified growth form that has been developed.  To find a commercially available source at the appropriate wavelength of approximately 375 nanometers, it is found that an “actinic” lamp is sufficiently close to merit application. Actinic fluorescent lamps are commonly available for aquarium lighting, as they reproduce the light range that is suitable for coral growth.  Notice the absorption spectrum presented remains sufficiently pronounced and localized to accommodate the 420 nm wavelength; practice has shown that a measurable effect is apparent with its use. Magnification 10x.

frequency 5

A photograph of the sheen, or film-like layer that develops on the wine culture surface immediately prior to the explosive growth stage that takes place. The early stages of folding and rippling of the surface can be seen.  The incubation period to reach this stage is approximately 5 days under the current environmental conditions established.  Growth is then extremely rapid, and envelops the entire surface of the dish with filaments as shown above within a 24 hour period.  One of the effects that appears to result from the use of the actinic lamp is a very sharp increase in the rate of the culture growths in general.  The cultures in the past have usually required several weeks to even several months to develop; all cultures under examination in this report have produced visible results within a week of time.  The central lighted region of the dish is the light stage of the microscope underneath the culture dish.

frequency 6

Another close-up view of the modified growth form that has been developed
Magnification approximately 3x.

frequency 7

An oral filament sample that has been isolated from the red wine extraction fluid.  This isolation occurs by a process of decanting and dilution, and is relatively pure in this state within water.  Notice the color of the wine is absorbed by the materials.  This sample material provides the basis for further culture work and spectral analysis.

frequency 11

The test tube filament sample, as shown in the previous photograph, can be used to generate further cultures and to conduct spectral analyses. One method of preparing a culture is to simply place the material within red wine as a culture medium. This is the method used in setting up the culture dishes shown earlier in this report. Another method of preparing the sample for further analysis is to heat it (to the boiling point) within a lye (sodium hydroxide) solution. The advantage of this method is that it appears to be reasonably successful in breaking down the exterior casing of the filament and allows for examination of the internal components. It also allows for extraction of the more fundamental(interior) components for use in the culture process.


The images that are shown in this set are a product of the heat and lye degradation process. This allows for extraction of the chlamydia-archaea-bacterial like component that resides within the filament structure. It therefore allows for examination of culture development at a more primitive, or base, level. In addition, these cultures in a red wine solution have been modified with the weak addition of iron sulfate and hydrogen peroxide. It has been found that these additions accelerate the growth rate of the cultures as has been described previously. The hydroxyl radical appears to be a significant fact in this increased growth rate. There is very good reason to believe that the “organism” can use both iron and calcium for its sustenance; this will have to be elaborated upon in later reports. In addition, the introduction of the blue wavelength light appears to be an additional accelerating factor in the culture growth rate. The section reflecting light on the right side of the petri dish is a young network of filaments that are beginning to form within the culture.

filament 1 filament 2 filament 3

This final section of photographs is a close-up of the young filament network referred to in the previous photograph on the right side of the set.  The photograph is taken at the surface level of the wine solution.  The individual filaments of the emerging network can be identified.  The use of accelerating factors in the growth rate of the cultures with the use of Fenton’s reaction and blue light appears to offer significant benefits in the turnover rate for future culture research.  In the past, the development of the filament network can take weeks to even months to develop; in the case of this report all culture developments have taken place within a week of time.  Magnification is estimated at approximately 100x.


Jan 04 2001
Clifford E Carnicom

The following are video stills extracted from a video segment made on Jan 03 2001 in Santa Fe NM. The evidence provided by these images further substantiates those demands which now exist for a formal investigation into drastic atmospheric changes which, by all evidence available, are a direct result of aircraft aerosol operations imposed without citizen consent.

Video still which shows the “clear” blue sky of Santa Fe
at the time of the video shoot. Jan 01 2001, two days prior, was a day of
intensive aerosol activities over the Santa Fe and Albuquerque area.
No wind or visible dust in the atmosphere on this day.

Video still which shows the arrangement of the sun and position
of the viewer at a low level of magnification.

Abundant particulate matter visible within the intensely backlit
section immediately adjacent to the roof edge and solar corona.
Normal lighting. Magnification approximately 40x.

Abundant particulate matter visible within the intensely backlit
section immediately adjacent to the roof edge and solar corona.
Normal lighting. Magnification approximately 40x.

Abundant particulate matter visible within the intensely backlit
section immediately adjacent to the roof edge and solar corona.
Normal lighting. Magnification approximately 40x.

Abundant particulate matter visible within the intensely backlit
section immediately adjacent to the roof edge and solar corona.
Normal lighting. Magnification approximately 40x.

Abundant particulate matter visible within the intensely backlit
section immediately adjacent to the roof edge and solar corona.
Negative lighting. Magnification approximately 40x.

Abundant particulate matter visible within the intensely backlit
section immediately adjacent to the roof edge and solar corona.
Negative lighting. Magnification approximately 40x.

Full credit for the methods and observations recorded on this page are extended to a member of the message board by the name of “Looookinup”, as well as to several other members that have substantiated the efforts made to identify particulate matter now readily visible in our skies. Please use extreme caution within any efforts to duplicate these observations, especially if magnifying optics are being used. It is essential that the sun never be viewed directly, especially with magnification. The corona of the sun is what will make the particles visible.

Future research methods will include direct filtering of the atmosphere. Current research indicates that the most likely size of the particles being observed is on the order of sub-micron to several microns in size. The role of the so-called “plasma frequency” is also under investigation. Particles appear to be white, highly reflective, electrically charged and likely of a metallic nature. Citizens, professionals and activists across the country are encouraged to participate in this nationwide effort of research, disclosure and establishment of accountability. Direct demands to Christine Todd Whitman, Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, for a formal investigation into the evidence available thus far are also invited. Carol M. Browner, the previous EPA administrator, has recently reiterated the claim that this national agency for public welfare remains “unaware” of any aircraft aerosol operations occurring within our skies.

Clifford E Carnicom
Jan 04 2001


November 28 2000
Clifford E Carnicom

The identification of barium in the atmosphere as a result of aircraft aerosol criminal activities continues to be confirmed. Studies with a diffraction grating spectrometer have repeatedly identified important signature high intensity spectral lines at approximately 712 and 728 nanometers (in addition to others) in the visible portion of the spectrum, as reported in an earlier table. All research conducted thus far continues to indicate a unique match to the element of barium.

These spectral lines are visible under very limited time conditions near sunset or sunrise, when the sunlight shifts toward the red portion of the spectrum.

Comparisons to eliminate other candidate elements from the periodic table have now been completed at the most significant levels. Earlier research has eliminated other common elements expected within the solar spectrum, such as carbon, calcium, iron, hydrogen, magnesium, nitrogen, sodium and oxygen.

Additional work has now been completed which also eliminates further candidates which are selected from Group I and II of the periodic table. The additional elements considered which also fail to show a match with these spectral lines include lithium, potassium, rubidium, cesium, francium, and strontium. These elements have been chosen on the basis of specific criteria that satisfy the physics and chemistry of observations that have accumulated.

The efforts of identification of barium in the atmosphere are based upon a minimum of three progressions of logic that continue to satisfy all observations associated with the aerosol activities. Three fundamental tenets of this postulate include:

1. The repeated delivery of specific salt-based aerosols into the atmosphere which form pseudo-cloud decks evidenced under conditions of extreme low relative humidity.

2. The existence of specifically created hydroxides as confirmed through statistically significant rainfall pH tests by involved citizens across the country that confirm a radical and sudden change in the chemistry of the atmosphere directly associated with aerosol aircraft operations.

3. The use of spectrometry as a positive analytical method to identify the existence of barium salt compounds that have been introduced into the atmosphere on a massive scale.

A basis for the formal investigation into the existence of hazardous trace metals within the environment, introduced as a result of aircraft aerosol operations and without citizen consent is established. Other physical materials identified, including biological components, also demand a critical explanation. Citizens across the country are urged to educate themselves on the facts of this case and to demand this inquiry by means of a Congressional hearing.

Clifford E Carnicom
Nov 28 2000


A toxicology report for barium is available with a link below. It would be beneficial for all readers to become familiar with the health effects that result from exposure to barium. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are readily available on the internet for barium compounds such as barium oxide.

Salt crystals have the ability to diffract x-rays; x-ray diffraction is a method that is commonly used to identify the atomic structure of crystals.


Barium Toxicity Profile


November 1 2000
Edited Dec 12 2000
Clifford E Carnicom

The unusual presence of the element barium in the atmosphere now appears to have been affirmed through the methods of spectroscopy. Spectroscopy is “the study of the absorption and emission of light and other radiation by matter, as related to the dependence of these processes on the wavelength of the radiation” (Enc. Brittanica). The results of the current research are now sufficient to establish an analytical basis for the formal investigation of radical atmospheric changes induced by relatively recent aircraft aerosol operations. This work further confirms the recent findings that have substantiated the unusual presence of an alkaline salt form in the atmosphere, as revealed through recent pH tests conducted across the country. Barium compounds, especially those of a soluble nature, are regarded as a serious health risk, and they are commonly associated with respiratory distress.

Research by this method will continue, but preliminary results are provided because of the importance of the findings and to support the claims that are made herein. It is recommended that other researchers across the country participate within this endeavor, in an effort to further refine the results of the study. Spectroscopy provides an analytic tool that can be used to establish the presence or absence of certain foreign elements in the atmosphere that have been under consideration for some time.

Clifford E Carnicom
November 1 2000


More details on the methods and tools that have been used in this study will be presented as time and circumstances permit. Two significant identifying spectral lines appearing are those at 712nm and 728nm respectively; these lines are visible only under very restricted conditions near sundown. Lines in association with barium at 455, 491, 516, 554, 614 and 648nm are also under due consideration. The elements of C, Ca, Fe, H, Mg, N, Na, and O have been considered for comparison with these critical lines, and the presence of barium appears to stand unique in this portion of the spectrum at this intensity. Results of the study presented on this page are subject to revision based upon continued findings or if any errors are determined. The table below remains incomplete as this study remains in progress. One visual light prism spectroscope and one visual light diffraction-grating spectrometer are being used within the study, and the results from each are cross-checked with each other. The visible light spectrum ranges from approximately 400 to 700 nanometers(nm), with violet at the 400nm range and red at the 700nm range. The expected error in any reading is approximately 1-3 nanometers, which is sufficient in most cases to eliminate ambiguity. Those with further information to supplement the table are welcome to contribute to the completion of it. The specific absorption lines in the instruments which have been observed thus far are:


Observed Wavelength(nm)

Associated Element(s)

ActualWavelength: (nm)

Relative Intensity

NIST Intensity

Comments or Source


Fe, Ca, C, Cr



C,Cr : Emsley : The Elements





Emsley : The Elements







Emsley : The Elements












Emsley : The Elements


Ba, Mg, Fe

Ba 516
Mg 518
Fe 518


Fe: Harvard Smithsonian
Mg : Emsley : The Elements








Emsley : The Elements








Emsley : The Elements





Emsley : The Elements





Emsley : The Elements





Na, He

Na 589
He 588


Emsley : The Elements






Emsley : The Elements




Columbus Optical SETI Laboratory




Emsley : The Elements





Emsley : The Elements






715+/- 3nm





Visible only at conditions of sunset or sunrise

725+/3 3nm



Emsley : The Elements
Visible only at conditions of sunset or sunrise






Visible only at conditions of sunset or sunrise





Columbus Optical SETI Laboratory
Visible only at conditions of sunset or sunrise

Additional Notes:

Source : Emsley : The Elements


Abundance within the Sun
(relative to hydrogen, the most abundant at 1 x 1012):

Expected Atmospheric Concentration (ppm)

Main Spectral Lines

Hydrogen : 1 x 1012

0.5 (volume)


Helium : 6.3 x 1010



Oxygen : 6.9 x 108


None listed

Carbon : 4.2 x 108



Silicon : 4.5 x 107



Nitrogen : 4.0 x 107



Magnesium : 4.0 x 107



Iron : 3.2 x 107


None listed

Sulfur : 1.6 x 107



Aluminum : 3.3 x 106


None listed

Calcium : 2.2 x 106



Nickel : 1.9 x 106



Sodium : 1.9 x 106



Argon : 1.0 x 106



Barium : 123



Relative intensity within the upper table is an arbitrary ranking factor, with 1 indicating a more intense absorption line in the spectrum, and 3 being the weakest. NIST intensity is the relative intensity assigned by The National Institute of Standards and Technology Physics Library Atomic Spectral database.

Barium Toxicity Profile



sample 1s

Original Ground Sample Received Nov 1999. Shown under microscope, top lit stage 60x. Described previously and as delivered certified mail to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Distinguishing characteristics : sub-micron in diameter, adhesive, elastic. Remains chemically unidentified.


Original Ground Sample Received Nov 1999 under black light (UV) and microscope (60x). Level of fluorescence is NOT especially notable with this material. Distinguishing characteristics are adhesiveness, microscopic wave forms, and sub-micron diameter of individual fibers.


A common synthetic fiber (type unidentified) photographed under the microscope with visible light at 60x.


The same synthetic fiber shown above under the microscope at 60x, illuminated with black light (UV). Extreme fluorescence, but bears no similarities to earlier ground sample. Fiber diameter significantly greater than 1 micron, and by all appearances one of thousands of similar fibers (i.e., lint) in this residential environment.


Another synthetic fiber with notable fluorescence under the black light. Microscopic photograph taken
with visible light at 60x.


The same synthetic fiber shown above under the microscope at 60x, illuminated with black light (UV). Extreme fluorescence, but bears no similarities to earlier ground sample. Fiber diameter significantly greater than 1 micron, and by all appearances one of thousands of similar fibers (i.e., lint) in this residential environment.

In addition, several fibers which appear to be of cotton also exhibited marked fluorescence under the black light. These were also examined under the microscope and also did not exhibit any of the unusual characteristics of the ground sample referenced earlier.

Allowance is made for the fact that the material emitted from active aircraft could be highly variable. Caution is advised in the meantime, however, of using UV fluorescence as an identifying characteristic. More data must be made available to assist in the process of identification, such as microscopic photographs. Also consider the presentation of chemical testing previously described in order to make further comparisons of materials. Although hundreds to thousands of fluorescent fibers under the black light (UV) have been identified locally under this preliminary investigation, none of them have been found to be of an especially unique nature.

Additional data and feedback of the current investigations underway with UV light is most welcome. Hopefully these can be accompanied with some level of microscopic and or chemical evaluations. Thank you.

Clifford E Carnicom April 17 2000



cloud1cloud2The following account was received on Feb 9 2000 along with the photographs above:

“I was outside filming today and happened to catch these photos. You couldn’t see the colors with the naked eye. At first I thought there was something wrong with the camcorder, but it wasn’t the camera. This rainbow chemcloud only lasted approx. 2 minutes and then dissipated. It was very bright pink, green, yellow and purple! There was a distinct smell of geraniums and peaches in the air at the same time. I haven’t smelled that since last summer when we had yellow rain. So far, I haven’t found anyone who has seen this. Note that it was 2:30 in the afternoon and overcast (no reflection from sunrise or sunset).

If you know of anyone else who has seen similar I’d be interested. Thanks.”

Vicki Henry
McAlester, OK


Readers are encouraged to construct their own telephoto cameras so that close-up photographs of aerosol spraying aircraft can be captured and presented as further evidence to the nation. The configuration shown takes a standard 300mm zoom lens and converts it a powerful telephoto lens (1200mm) at relatively modest cost, and with equipment that is readily available. The first teleconverter transforms the zoom lens into a 600mm lens, and the second teleconverter extends it to 1200mm. This results in an approximate magnification of 24 over a normal lens(50mm). Photographs are taken without a tripod, by simply panning the aircraft at its closest range. The user will have about a 15 to 20 second interval in which to acquire vertical photographs under optimum conditions. It is therefore recommended that the camera be kept accessible at all times.

how to photograph aerosol plane 1how to photograph aerosol plane 2

The photographs on this page show the camera equipment which is sufficient to take the telephotos of the aerosol planes which are presented on www.carnicom.com. The technical specifications of this set include:

Pentax P3 35mm camera
Cambron 2x teleconverter
Toyo 2x teleconverter
Tamron 100-300mm zoom lens

This equipment is relatively inexpensive. Teleconverters are available for approximately $60 and a zoom lens of this type costs approximately $200. Any standard 35mm body should suffice as long as all the mounts of the lenses are compatible.

The majority of photographs taken are at a full lens extension of 1200mm at 1/500 sec. at f5 (maximum aperture of this zoom lens) with a film speed of 800. This arrangement is at the technical limit
of the camera with respect to light gathering capability balanced with sufficient speed of the shutter to minimize blur.

There are now three categories of apparent spray methods which have been identified through these photographic techniques. The first is a full-length wing spray system as presented on this site through photographs taken on August 14, August 24, and September 9 of 1999. The second method involves what appears to be a delivery system arranged in conjunction with the horizontal stabilizers of the aircraft, as shown on several photographs taken in May of 1999. There is also good reason to believe that a third system involves engine emissions, as numerous variations in method and technique have been observed to occur. The density and size of the aerosols left by the aircraft are in direct correspondence to the methods outlined above.

The ‘Megasprayer’ produces an incredibly dense and thick trail which surpasses all previous experiences of contrail/aerosols formation.

The second method produces two distinct trails which appear to originate from the stabilizers of the aircraft; these are moderately dense, persistent and also produce the classic haze and cirrus layers commonly observed. Close and extended observation and analysis does not support the claim that the trails of the second method originate from the engines.

The third method is by nature more ambiguous, as the trails are less dense, have some characteristics of ‘normal’ contrails, and yet they also result in persistent cloud and haze formation.

Your contributions in telephotography can help to resolve remaining uncertainties  in the methods and scope of delivery. Please feel free to forward any disclosing photographs to info@carnicominstitute.org The value of any photograph is enhanced considerably with a discussion of the subsequent behavor of the trail left, e.g., density, duration, continuity, transformation, etc.