Two Research Studies Come to the Same Conclusion: China's Air Pollution is Hurting America

Two Research Studies Come to the Same Conclusion: China's Air Pollution is Hurting America

There's no escaping it: the smog is coming ... and it's coming.

China's smog problem has been well documented as one of two Chinese things that can be seen from space (see the above NASA satellite photo), but it turns out the problem is reaching more and more people. According to two separate studies released last week, China's smog is so problematic that it's affecting weather patterns around the rest of the world, especially in the U.S.


One study by Texas A&M University and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory researchers published in Nature Communications found that China's extreme air pollution is impacting global air circulation. 

"The models clearly show that pollution originating from Asia has an impact on the upper atmosphere and it appears to make such storms or cyclones even stronger," said lead researcher Yuan Zhang, a former doctoral student at Texas A&M. "This pollution affects cloud formations, precipitation, storm intensity and other factors and eventually impacts climate.  Most likely, pollution from Asia can have important consequences on the weather pattern here over North America."

Then, another study from University of California at Irvine published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that bad air from China is blowing across the Pacific Ocean and contributing to smog in the United States. Although a decrease in American manufacturing has helped lessen the United States' air pollution, the smog that is wafting over from China is becoming a serious problem. 

"We've outsourced our manufacturing and much of our pollution, but some of it is blowing back across the Pacific to haunt us," said Steve Davis, a University of California at Irvine scientist and a co-author of the study. 


China's booming economy has meant a lot of new factories and manufacturing jobs, but this has also caused striking amounts of air pollution which has drawn international criticism. While we may have had an easier time ignoring China's smog before, these new findings indicate that the problem isn't contained within China and could affect people around the world. 

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Matt Essert

Matt is the news director at Mic, covering breaking news. He is based in New York and can be reached at matt@mic.com.

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