Asian Monsoon Pumps Air Pollution Into Stratosphere, Helps Spread Throughout the Globe

china air pollution photo

photo: Jakob Montrasio via flickr.

We've known for some time that air pollution created in Asia--largely because of fast expanding economic activity fueled by coal--spreads far and wide, even reaching the shores of the United States. Well, new research in Science Express details how the Asian monsoon helps the global spread of air pollutants.National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist William Randel, the study's lead author, said,

The monsoon is one of the most powerful atmospheric circulation systems on the planet, and it happens to form right over a heavily polluted region. As a result, the monsoon provides a pathway for transporting pollutants up to the stratosphere.

Once up there, the report says, these pollutants can circulate for several years before either breaking apart of descending back to lower parts of the atmosphere.

Air Pollution to Increase - Climate Impact on Monsoon Unknown
The report goes on to say that the impact of Asian air pollution on the stratosphere will likely increase in the coming years as continued economic expansion and industrial activity continues in the region.

As for the potential impacts of climate change on the monsoon, the report says it is unknown at this point whether this will strengthen or weaken the ability of the monsoon to transport pollutants into the upper atmosphere.

We're In This Together...
The takeaway: We're all in this together, regardless of national boundaries. Let's remember that up to one-third of carbon emissions in China can be traced back to manufacturing goods for export. Anyone pointing fingers, in regards to pollution and climate change, had better also be pointing one back at themselves as well.

More on this research: Science Daily
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