China's air pollution leading to more erratic climate for US
China's air pollution could be intensifying storms over the Pacific Ocean and altering weather patterns in North America, according to scientists in the US. A team has found that pollution from Asia, much of it arising in China, is leading to more intense cyclones, increased precipitation and more warm air in the mid-Pacific moving towards the north pole.
According to the team's findings, which were released on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, these changes could ultimately contribute to erratic weather in the US.
The authors used advanced computer models to study interactions between clouds and fine airborne particles known as aerosols, particularly manmade ones such as those emitted from vehicles and coal-fired power plants.
"Our work provides, for the first time to the authors' knowledge, a global multi-scale perspective of the climatic effects of pollution outflows from Asia," says the study's abstract.
One effect, the study says, is an "intensification of the Pacific storm track", a narrow zone over the ocean where some storms that pass over the US begin to gather.
"Mid-latitude storms develop off Asia and they track across the Pacific, coming in to the west coast of the US," said Ellie Highwood, a climate physicist at the University of Reading. "The particles in this model are affecting how strong those storms are, how dense the clouds are, and how much rainfall comes out of those storms."