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Air pollution from Asia affecting global weather

PTI | Last Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 21:29

Washington: Asia`s growing air pollution - much of it coming from China - is affecting the world`s weather and climate patterns, researchers, including an Indian-origin scientist, have warned.

The extreme pollution from Asia affects cloud formations, precipitation, storm intensity and other factors and eventually impacts climate, according to a study by Texas A&M University and NASA`s Jet Propulsion Laboratory researchers.

Using climate models and data collected about aerosols and meteorology over the past 30 years, researchers Yuan Wang, Renyi Zhang and R Saravanan, have found that air pollution over Asia - much of it coming from China - is impacting global air circulations.
"The models clearly show that pollution originating from Asia has an impact on the upper atmosphere and it appears to make such storms or cyclones even stronger," Zhang said.

"This pollution affects cloud formations, precipitation, storm intensity and other factors and eventually impacts climate. Most likely, pollution from Asia can have important consequences on the weather pattern here over North America," said Zhang.

China`s booming economy during the last 30 years has led to the building of enormous manufacturing factories, industrial plants, power plants and other facilities that produce huge amounts of air pollutants, researchers said.
Once emitted into the atmosphere, pollutant particles affect cloud formations and weather systems worldwide, the study shows.

Increases in coal burning and car emissions are major sources of pollution in China and other Asian countries.

Air pollution levels in some Chinese cities, such as Beijing, are often more than 100 times higher than acceptable limits set by the World Health Organisation standards, Zhang said.

"The models we have used and our data are very consistent with the results we have reached," Saravanan said.

"Huge amounts of aerosols from Asia go as high as six miles up in the atmosphere and these have an unmistakable impact on cloud formations and weather," he said.

The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

First Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 21:29
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