August 11, 2015

“In a manner of speaking, China is exporting its air pollution to the West Coast of America...”

San Gabriel Valley Tribune Aside from smartphones, toys and computers, China exports a different kind of product into the western United States — air pollution. By Steve Scauzillo

'A study released Monday by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA found that smog-forming chemicals making their way across the Pacific Ocean from China are undermining the progress California has made in reducing ozone, the most caustic component in L.A. smog.

'From 2005 through 2010, western states have cut ozone-forming air pollutants by 21 percent, but the NASA/JPL study found no drop at all when measuring smog-forming gases in the midtroposphere, located 10,000 to 30,000 feet above ground level.

'Just under half of what should have been a 2 percent drop was offset by China’s contribution, stemming from a 21 percent rise in ozone-forming pollutants emitted by car tailpipes and coal plants from a robust Chinese economy during the six years studied. Slightly more than half was due to natural causes — stratospheric ozone descending through the sky as a result of cyclical atmospheric winds helped by an El Niño in 2009-2010, the scientists concluded.

'“The contribution from China increased steadily throughout the study, and we don’t know what will happen to it in the future because it depends on human rather than natural factors,” said JPL scientist Jessica Neu, co-author of the study with Willem Verstraeten, an atmospheric chemist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. The study was published Monday in the online journal Nature Geoscience.'

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