The ocean removes about 15 percent of these chemicals overnight along the coast in cities such as Los Angeles.
They say the sea’s importance may have been overlooked in the battle against smog.
The surface of the sea takes up nitrogen oxides that build up in polluted air at night, new measurements on the coast of southern California with this instrument have shown
Nitrogen oxides, formed by the burning of fossil fuels, generate photochemical smog.
The team say conditions were just right one night in February when onshore winds blew a polluted air mass from the Los Angeles Basin along the coast and toward the sea, allowing the researchers to track what happened to the nitrogen oxide gases as they swept across the surface of the sea.