Asian Air Pollution Could Cause Hotter Summers in the United States: NOAA


Suzhou, China photo: damnblast via flickr

We knew that mercury from Chinese power plants was finding its way into US rivers, but this adds a new twist to the issue:

Scientists from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced last Thursday, that although it stays in the atmosphere for only days or weeks, the warming effect of particulate pollution such as soot from fires and sulfate particles from power plants can last for decades. What that means is that as Asian air pollution drifts around the globe it could lead to the American Midwest and Mediterranean having hotter and drier summers.

What's more, these particles will have a greater influence on climate over the next century than we realized.Particulate Pollution by 2050 = 20% of Warming
Reuters quotes Hiram Levy of NOAA:

We found that these short-lived pollutants have a greater influence on the Earth's climate throughout the 21st century than previously thought.

By 2050, two of the three climate models we use found that changes in short-lived pollutants will contribute 20% of the predicted global warming.


No Substitute for Reducing CO2 Emissions
That said, as Drew Shindell a climate scientist at NASA points out in the original article, there is "no substitute for targeting CO2, which in the long run is the main contributer to global warming and has to be tackled..."

While traditionally thought of and regulated as threats to human health through increased respiratory illnesses, it appears that we now have another reason to be concerned about the air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels.

via :: Reuters
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Tags: Global Climate Change | Global Warming Causes | Global Warming Science