BIOLOGICAL WARFARE? Smog from India, China winds way to U.S., Canada
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/16/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Ripples in the global pond, half a world away, can have effects all over the globe. Researchers at Texas A&M now say that air pollution originating in both India and China, almost certainly affects global weather patterns, particularly in the United States and Canada.
The smog in Asia, it must be noted is caused by more than just the burning of fossil fuels - it's comprised of nitrogen oxides, methane and other volatile organic compounds that combine to produce ozone.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The exact size of the effect, researchers say, remains to be seen. They agree that it's only worsening problems already caused by climate change: increasing the intensity and frequency of storms, ice cap melting, sea level rise and drought.
Carbon emissions, or greenhouse gases, all scientists agree, contribute to climate change. The smog in Asia, it must be noted is caused by more than just the burning of fossil fuels - it's comprised of nitrogen oxides, methane and other volatile organic compounds that combine to produce ozone.
Using satellite imagery and computer models to illustrate, it was shown that man-made air pollution created in Asia is adversely affecting the Pacific Ocean storm track, which transports weather westward from Asia to the west coasts of the North American continent.
In addition, the pollution is causing an increase in the formation of deep convective clouds, from 20 to 50 percent. The result is more extreme storms, according to the study funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation.
"This pollution directly affects our weather," Renyi Zhang, professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M and lead author of the study, said in a statement.
"During the past few decades, there has been a dramatic increase in atmospheric aerosols - mostly sulfate and soot from coal burning - especially in China and India," he said.
Prosperity has a price. Both China and India have experienced widespread economic growth in recent years. Large, fulsome factories and power plants, combined with the effects of wood and coal burning stoves in large, urban populations have meant that these countries are among the world's largest contributors of man-made air pollution.
Those toxins ride the Pacific storm track to the west coasts of Canada and the U.S., across North America, and eventually over most of the world, impacting clouds in their wake, which could lead to increased frequency and intensity of storms or even severe droughts.
Soot particles in the form of black carbon can collect on ice packs in the North and South poles, which attracts more heat from the sun and accelerates ice-cap melting.
Melting ice caps results in the release of methane, which exacerbates global warming, and also contributes to accelerated sea level rise.
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