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China’s Air Pollution Could Be Influencing Extreme Weather in the US

April 16, 2014
Environmental Protection

maskA new study has found that pollution from China is influencing irregular weather patterns across the rest of the world.

Research published in the journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ examined how aerosol pollutants affect global atmospheres, finding that they are responsible for stronger storms and the increased flow of heat from the equator to the Arctic.

The results back up previous studies conducted earlier this year by Texas A&M University and NASA, which both concluded that pollution from China contributes to smog in the US. Whilst the results show specific impacts on the Pacific region, lead author Renyi Zhang admits the same principles could be applied to other parts of the globe. “We are observing the mid-latitude cyclone system, which transports heat and moisture from low to high latitudes,” he said. “If this system is changed by air pollution from Asia, then global heat distribution will also be changed and we can expect that weather patterns over other parts of the world can be affected.”

In January the US Embassy in Bejing recorded levels of air pollution 18 times greater than World Health Organisation limits. The situation in other Chinese cities is equally as concerning, with Shanghai having introduced hourly air quality updates this week to advise citizens when they should avoid strenuous activity. The country is expected to revise legislation shortly to allow environmental protection officers to shut down polluting factories and restrict industrial development in some areas.

You can download a copy of the report here