Asian emissions contribute to air pollution in western United States: study

Mar 02, 2012

As Asian countries develop, they are emitting more ozone precursors that pollute surface level air. Many studies have documented this pollution being carried by air currents to the western United States. To learn more about the mechanisms that transport air pollution across the ocean and determine the effects of Asian air pollution on air quality in the western United States, Lin et al. analyzed in situ and satellite measurements from May 2010 to June 2010 using a global high- resolution climate chemistry model.

They quantified the contribution of Asian pollution to surface in both densely populated regions such as the Los Angeles area and rural areas such as national parks. They find that Asian pollution contributes as much as 20 percent of total ozone during springtime pollution episodes in western U.S. surface air.

Current guidelines from the dictate that, averaging over 8 hours, surface level air should have no more than 75 parts per billion per hour by volume of ozone. Although local pollution plays a large role on days when that standard is not met in Southern California, the authors estimate that 53 percent of the instances where that limit was exceeded would not have occurred without the contribution from Asian .

The researchers also find that an index based on satellite observations of Asian pollution plumes could serve as a qualitative early warning indicator, with a lead time of one to three days, of Asian pollution influence on western U.S. air quality.

Explore further: Beijing's focus on coal lost in haze of smog

More information: Transport of Asian ozone pollution into surface air over the western United States in spring, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, doi:10.1029/2011JD016961, 2012

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Foreign ozone emissions lower U.S. air quality

Dec 13, 2007

When it comes to environmental impacts, no nation is an island. A recent study from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison finds that up to 15 percent of U.S. air pollution comes ...

Air pollution may increase risk of appendicitis

Oct 06, 2008

Could there be a link between high levels of air pollution and the risk of appendicitis? New research presented at the 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Orlando, suggests a novel ...

U.S. Gets More Asian Air Pollution Than Thought

Jul 20, 2005

Air pollution blows across the Pacific Ocean from Asia to North America far more regularly than was previously thought, says a new UC Davis study. The findings are likely to affect attempts to clear hazy skies over much of ...

Recommended for you

New Marine Protected Area proposed for Myanmar

10 hours ago

The proposed establishment of a new Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Myeik archipelago has received enthusiastic support by participants in a workshop held recently in Myanmar's Tanintharyi region.

User comments : 0