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Atmospheric Pollution from China is Crossing the Pacific Ocean

posted: 08/11/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
West coast smog
Ray from LA/CC by 2.0

Pollutants traversing the Pacific Ocean from China are responsible for stagnant ozone levels above the western United States, despite a 21% drop in local pollutant production, according to a NASA study.

Using computer models, scientists from the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory examined ozone levels and atmospheric conditions between 2005 and 2010. They found that a combination of human and natural causes are responsible for the traveling ozone.

China's production of ozone pollutants rose by 21% during the time period studied. The increase in pollution production was augmented by naturally shifting atmospheric conditions, which transferred ozone from the stratosphere to the mid-troposphere, where ozone has a greenhouse effect.

"The large contribution from the stratosphere is part of a natural up-and-down cycle of upper-atmosphere winds. We know pretty well what will happen to the stratospheric contribution in the next few decades; it will continue to go up and down every two years or so," study coauthor Jessica Neu said in a press release.

"On the other hand, 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."

Click here for more information from NASA

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