Cape Cod is the recipient of a "pool" of pollutants that form over the industrialized Midwest and heavily populated Northeast corridor. Ground level ozone formation, for example, results when UV radiation from the sun helps to combine pollutants from multiple sources, such as regional industry and local vehicle exhaust, on warm, sunny, summer days.
The major ecosystem types (estuaries, ponds, wetlands and coastal uplands) at Cape Cod National Seashore are integrally linked to the atmosphere and impacted by various pollutants. The atmosphere plays a critical role throughout natural systems as it influences the cycling of nutrients such as nitrogen and carbon, and other elements and minerals such as sulfur, mercury, and particulate matter, as well as influencing the formation of ground-level ozone and atmospheric haze.
Knowledge about long-term trends in air quality related parameters such as precipitation, chemical constituents in wet and particulate deposition, and ground-level ozone are paramount in understanding and interpreting changes to visibility (i.e. haze), water and soil chemistry, and species composition throughout the major ecosystems at Cape Cod National Seashore.
Nationally established long-term monitoring programs at Cape Cod National Seashore for monitoring precipitation and wet deposition dates back to 1981. (http://nadp.sws.uiuc.edu/)
Additional monitoring of ground level ozone and regional haze, in collaboration with MA DEP and EPA, are also conducted at Cape Cod National Seashore. For additional information regarding these programs, see;
Did You Know?
Today, a dedicated group of families, individuals and non-profits carry on a unique heritage of art, reflection, and nature study at the dune shacks in Provincetown and Truro. A recent ethnographic study entitled, “Dwelling in the Dunes”, documents the people who live there today.