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Asian pollution fueling storms across Northern Hemisphere – study

Published time: April 15, 2014 09:18
An overpass is crowded with cars amid the heavy haze in Beijing February 23, 2014. (Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon)

An overpass is crowded with cars amid the heavy haze in Beijing February 23, 2014. (Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon)

Increasing levels of pollution in Asia are strengthening storms over the Pacific Ocean, a study has revealed. Scientists warned these changes could have a radical knock-on effect on climate systems around the world if left unchecked.

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the US on Monday has identified a link between increased pollution in Asia and changes in weather systems over the Pacific Ocean.

Scientists from Texas A&M University drew a comparison between levels of man-made particles in the air from 1850 to 2000 with an advanced global climate model.

They discovered that an increase in anthropogenic aerosols - fine particles given off by industrial activities – is likely causing stronger cyclones in the mid-latitudes of the Pacific, as well as increased precipitation. According to researchers, these changes could have a knock-on effect all over the world.

“There appears to be little doubt that these particles from Asia affect storms sweeping across the Pacific and subsequently the weather patterns in North America and the rest of the world,” Renyi Zhang, professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University in College Station, said in a press release.

The study identifies the most common aerosols as sulfates which predominately come from coal-fired power plants. Other pollutant particles released by vehicle emissions were also detected. Once in the atmosphere these particles reflect and absorb sunlight and can have both a cooling and warming effect on climate zones.

“[Particles] tend to make storms deeper and stronger and more intense, and these storms also have more precipitation in them. We believe this is the first time that a study has provided such a global perspective,” said Zhang. He added “it's almost certain that weather in the US is changing.”

China is Asia’s Number 1 offender in terms of air pollutions, with the country’s largest cities regularly enveloped in toxic smog.

In addition, levels of pollution in Beijing regularly soar above international safety guidelines. In March, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection released a report revealing dire pollution problems.

It found that the most polluted cities were in the north, where most of China’s coal-fired power plants are located, as well as steel manufacturing plants. In addition, the study reported that air quality standards were only met on 48 days in 2013 in Beijing.

In an attempt to combat the rising levels of smog, the Chinese government is set to grant Beijing new rights to close polluting factories and punish officials, writes the South China Morning Post. In order to do this the government will push through an amendment to China’s 1989 Environmental Protection Law.

Comments (22)


Monty C Veregen 16.04.2014 10:02

Well we get China to make everything so logic that they would pollute more then any other country on the planet other then that there is programs around the world like H.A.A.R.P were they can manipulate the weather and earth same with what there spraying in our atmosphere sky is no longer blue any were has a white or grey haze to the blue sky so there is a number of factors at play not one country or area to blame more at fault then a nation


Macon Richardson 15.04.2014 22:42

Let's follow the logic of the 'scientists' from Texas A&M (Agricultural and Mechanical) University.

China causes pollution which causes weather changes which caused Fukushima which polluted the Pacific Ocean. Therefore China caused Fukushima and high radiation on the North American west coast.

Let' s follow the logic further. If greedy consumption addicts in the US had not demanded all the Chinese-made goods, China wouldn't have caused the pollution that caused the weather change that caused Fukushima and polluted the Pacific Ocean.

Bad, bad China? How about bad, bad Wal-Mart junkies in America instead?


Luong the Viet 15.04.2014 18:34

Evil china is the cancer of all the world and must be dismembered into 100 smaller nations for all of mankind to live in peace.

Also , a BIG correction: china is the WORLD'S BIGGEST POLLUTER, not just Asia's. Even in Africa, we see chinese polluting the local nations in search of oil, copper and other mineral resources. chinese are greedy leeches that sucks the energy of all of mankind. They must be stopped before it's too late. Amen.

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