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Western US Smog: Asia Pollution Migrating Over Pacific, Study Finds

Image: Western US Smog: Asia Pollution Migrating Over Pacific, Study Finds

The city's skyline is seen over a haze of pollution on Jan. 9, 2017, in Hong Kong. (Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 03 Mar 2017 04:12 PM

Increases in smog in the western U.S. originated from Asia pollution and moved over the Pacific Ocean, a new study published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics shows.

The research studied ozone levels in spring and summer in western U.S. national parks in recent decades and concluded 65 percent of ozone increases could be attributed to Asian pollution from manufacturing processes, according to NPR.

Smog levels increased in parks like Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Yellowstone National park over the last 25 years, and the increases were worst in spring and summer, the study found. Cities at higher elevations like Denver, Colorado, also have seen increases in smog compared to cities at sea level that are more protected from air currents, according to KPCC.

“Air pollution is a global phenomenon,” lead author and Princeton University and NOAA researcher Meiyun Lin said, KPCC reported. “It’s important to know how pollution in Asia influences our efforts to control air quality in the U.S.”

The findings point to the need for a global approach to air quality, researchers said.

Asian countries’ emissions have tripled since 1990, while North American emissions have been cut by 50 percent.

China is in the process of cutting nitrogen oxide emissions that form ozone, and other Asian countries like India have already been using methods that are more efficient, NPR reported.

The study looked at ground-level ozone, which “can be harmful to people, animals, crops and other materials,” the EPA said, and “can aggravate asthma, and inflame and damage cells that line your lungs,” NPR reported.

The study was funded by NASA grants and used ozone data already available online for free.

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Increases in smog in the western U.S. originated from Asia pollution and moved over the Pacific Ocean, a new study published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics shows.
western, us, smog, asia, pollution
274
2017-12-03
Friday, 03 Mar 2017 04:12 PM
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