Extreme air pollution in Asian countries is responsible for changing weathers and climate patterns according to globe, Texas A&M University and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory researchers reveal.
The researchers used climate models and data collected about aerosols and meteorology over the past 30 years and came to the following conclusion.
"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," Yuan Wang, a former doctoral student at Texas A&M explained in a press release. "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."
China is the biggest contributor to this Asian air pollution. Its booming economy has led to the development of manufacturing factories, industrial plants, power plants and other facilities that produce huge amounts of air pollutants. In fact, a study conducted earlier this week revealed that goods manufactured for exports to the United States and Europe are partially responsible for the increase in air pollution in China.
"We've outsourced our manufacturing and much of our pollution, but some of it is blowing back across the Pacific to haunt us," said UC Irvine Earth system scientist Steve Davis, a co-author in a statement. "Given the complaints about how Chinese pollution is corrupting other countries' air, this paper shows that there may be plenty of blame to go around."
Increases in coal burning and car emissions are major sources of pollution in China and other Asian countries. Once emitted into the atmosphere, pollutant particles affect cloud formations and weather systems worldwide, the study revealed.
The condition is so bad in some Asian cities that the level of air pollution is 100 times more than the acceptable limits set by the World Health Organization. An earlier study showed that the chances of lung cancer in such cities have increased by 400 times due the ever-growing level of air pollution.
"The models we have used and our data are very consistent with the results we have reached," co-author R. Saravanan added. "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."
The problem of air pollution worsens in the winters when the stagnant weather mixes with increased coal burning to create excess smog (smoke and fog). This blanket of pollution lures over some Asian cities for weeks on ends.
"We need to do some future research on exactly how these aerosols are transported globally and impact climate. There are many other atmospheric observations and models we need to look at to see how this entire process works," Texas A&M atmospheric sciences professors Renyi Zhang concluded.
Current statistics reveal that the current air pollution level in Beijing shaves off 16 years from a person's life. A study also found that estimated effects of air pollution were greater on the younger group of people than older groups.
"The potential reason is that the measurement of YLL takes into account those conditions afflicting young people or children. Giving the same weight to deaths occurring at different ages could distort policy priorities and resource allocation," Business Insider quoted the authors of the study as saying. "Most studies report that mortality risks related to air pollution are greater for older people than younger people. Our study suggests that focusing on death counts only could underestimate the burden of air pollution on young people."