Scientists and researchers said they have determined the world’s cleanest air, located over the Southern Ocean in Antarctica. Professor Sonia Kreidenweis and her team from Colorado State University presumed that the air on the Southern Ocean would be least afflicted by human activity from the continents of the world. The boundary layer air, which bolsters the lower clouds off the Southern Ocean, was clear from aerosol particles developed by human activity. These include burning fossil fuels, growing crops, fertilizer production, and wastewater disposal. Air pollution, which is considered a global health crisis by the World Health Organization (WHO), is caused by aerosols that are cascading in the air, affecting millions of people each year.

The researchers decided to scrutinize the air components and its origin using the bacteria in the air as a diagnostic tool to interpret the properties of the lower atmosphere. “The aerosols controlling the properties of SO (Southern Ocean) clouds are strongly linked to ocean biological processes, and that Antarctica appears to be isolated from southward dispersal of microorganisms and nutrient deposition from southern continents”, Thomas Hill, research scientist and co-author of the study, stated. He also added, “Overall, it suggests that the SO is one of very few places on Earth that has been minimally affected by anthropogenic activities”. Scientists investigated the composition of airborne microbes and sampled the air in the marine boundary level, traveling south to the Antarctic ice edge from Tasmania, Australia. Jun Uetake, source tracking and wind back trajectories scientist, identified the microbes’ origins were from the ocean. Hence, the researchers concluded that aerosols from distant landmasses and human activities were not going south and into the air. They also mention that the results show an evident distinctness to all other studies from oceans both in the northern hemisphere and subtropics.