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Anorak | China Air Invades America

China Air Invades America

by | 23rd, July 2007

SO where does the American air go? The Wall Street Journal wonders about air made in China:

One tainted export from China can’t be avoided in North America — air.

An outpouring of dust layered with man-made sulfates, smog, industrial fumes, carbon grit and nitrates is crossing the Pacific Ocean on prevailing winds from booming Asian economies in plumes so vast they alter the climate. These rivers of polluted air can be wider than the Amazon and deeper than the Grand Canyon.

“There are times when it covers the entire Pacific Ocean basin like a ribbon bent back and forth,” said atmospheric physicist V. Ramanathan at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif.

• Can the U.S. help stop global traffic in aerosol pollution? And what’s the international responsibility here? Share your thoughts in an online forum.

On some days, almost a third of the air over Los Angeles and San Francisco can be traced directly to Asia. With it comes up to three-quarters of the black carbon particulate pollution that reaches the West Coast, Dr. Ramanathan and his colleagues recently reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research.



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