Science: Villainous California Sun

Dirt and grime alone are not responsible for Los Angeles' notorious, eye-stinging smog. The real villain is Southern California's much-touted sunshine, reports the Stanford Research Institute after a seven-year study.

In the stagnant air over the mountain-hemmed area, ordinarily harmless chemicals rise from factory chimneys, auto exhausts, backyard incinerators at the rate of 3,100 tons a day. Under strong sunshine, the chemicals react with one another and with molecules of ozone (O<sub>3</sub>) to form a low-hanging, acrid pall, irritating to humans and damaging to crops.

Stanford's researchers have yet to discover exactly how ozone is formed. But they believe that it results from...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!