In the first study of its kind, researchers have found out that the Asian air pollution could be responsible for the drastic weather changes that affected not only the United States, but the entire world. As the research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday shows, there is an undeniable link between the increased pollution in Asia and the weather changes over the Pacific Ocean. As a result, experts from Texas A&M University came up with a study that compared the levels of man-made particles in the air on a period of 150 years and concluded that the increased anthropogenic aerosols lead to stronger cyclones and enhanced precipitation.
Researchers from Texas A&M University concluded that the Asian air pollution could be responsible for the drastic weather changes, which are affecting the world’s climate. According to Yuan Wang, lead author of the study and post-doctorate fellow at the NASA U.S. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “the Pacific storm track is a major driving force over global weather patterns.” The conclusion of the research determined that the Asian air pollution might be the reason why the winter in the United States and Canada has been tougher than ever and pointed at China’s toxic smog. The study shed some light on the increased anthropogenic aerosols, namely the particles emanated by industrial activities and showed that they caused the weather to change. Renyi Zhang, professor of atmospherical sciences as the same university stated that these particles appear to “make storms deeper and stronger and more intense, and these storms also have more precipitation in them.” As a result, it is believed that the Asian air pollution changes the weather patterns not only in the United States, but also in the rest of the world.
Asian Pollution: A Global Problem
China represents Asia’s number one offender when it comes to air pollution and, in January, the United States Embassy in Beijing registered hazardous levels of particulate matter in the air, which determined the authorities to advise residents to stay indoors. The study concluded that the most common aerosols come from coal-fired power plants and others stem from vehicle emissions and, when these particles are in the atmosphere, they reflect and absorb sunlight. Although they mainly have cooling effects on climate zones, they also “provide seeds for cloud formation,” according to Zhang. The study’s co-author concluded that these aerosols “fundamentally change could patterns and storm patterns.”
In March, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection developed a research of its own and found out that the Asian air pollution has reached new heights. According to the report, the air quality standards were met in no more than 48 days in 2013 in Beijing. South China Morning Post reported that, judging from the findings, the Chinese government has decided to offer its capital new rights to close factories that pollute and punish officials.
When addressing the current weather changes, Wang stated that “the effects are quite dramatic,” and pointed at the relation between the Pacific Ocean and the air pollution. According to him,”since the Pacific storm track is an important component in the global generic circulation,” the repercussions of the Asian air pollution could mean that it is responsible for the drastic weather changes.
By Gabriela Motroc