Scientists Discover Antarctic Ocean Has Cleanest Air on Earth

Category : Science/Environment

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. theorize / ˈθi əˌraɪz / (v) – to develop a set of ideas about something

    Ancient people believed that the sun revolved around the Earth, but some early scientists theorized that it was the Earth that revolved around the sun.

  2. concentration / ˌkɒn sənˈtreɪ ʃən / (n) – the amount of a substance in a certain area

    The well water contains high concentrations of chemicals.

  3. aerosol / ˈɛər əˌsɔl / (n) – a mixture of particles that can spread through the air

    You need to cover your mouth and nose to avoid inhaling aerosols.

  4. pristine / ˈprɪs tin / (adj) – completely fresh or clean

    It’s hard to find pristine beaches now because most of them have become crowded tourist spots.

  5. hail / heɪl / (v) – to talk highly of someone or something

    He was hailed as a hero after he saved the drowning child.


Read the text below.

Scientists from the Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science have discovered that the Antarctic Ocean has the cleanest air on Earth.

The team set out to determine how far the wind could carry air pollutants produced from human activity. The scientists theorized that the air over the Antarctic Ocean would have the lowest concentration of these artificial aerosols, which originate from burning fossil fuels.

To find out if their theory was correct, the team measured the composition of the air in several areas of the Antarctic Ocean. Upon studying the air samples collected, the researchers found that they did not contain any man-made chemicals. Instead, they found bacteria that were likely to have come from the ocean. The study’s lead author even commented that the team had difficulty obtaining particles to observe because the air was so clean.

According to one of the researchers, the absence of human activity near the Antarctic Ocean was a factor behind the absolute lack of pollution in the surrounding air.

Prior to the study, the researchers thought that human activity would have some degree of impact on every area of the world. However, the results of the study proved that there are still places that remain pristine and unaffected by pollutants.

Before the discovery was made in the Antarctic Ocean, the place that was hailed to have the cleanest air in the world was Cape Grim in Tasmania, Australia.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree that human activity is the main contributor to pollution? Why or why not?
• In your opinion, what should people do when they find places that are virtually free from pollutants (e.g. preserve them, live in them)? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Do you think it’s still possible to reverse the damage caused by pollution and have clean air? Why or why not?
• Do you think your country is doing enough to help fight air pollution? Why or why not?

Category : Science/Environment