March 31, 2017
Chinese leaders, grappling with some of the world’s worst air pollution, have long assumed the answer to their woes was gradually reducing the level of smog-forming chemicals emitted from power plants, steel factories and cars. But, according to a March 24, 2017 New York Times report, new research suggests another factor may be hindering China’s efforts to take control of its devastating smog crisis: climate change.
Changing weather patterns linked to rising global temperatures have resulted in a dearth of wind across northern China, according to several recent studies, exacerbating a wave of severe pollution that has been blamed for millions of premature deaths. Wind usually helps blow away smog, but changes in weather patterns in recent decades have left many of China’s most populous cities poorly ventilated, scientists say.
The findings, some of the first to link climate change to smog, may escalate pressure on Chinese leaders to move more swiftly to shutter steel factories and coal-fired power plants amid rising public anger over smog caused by soot and gases like sulfur dioxide. The research could also push China to assume an even more forceful role in international efforts to curb climate change by reducing carbon emissions, at a time when the United States, under President Trump, appears to be backing away from the issue.
“Everyone used to think that controlling smog hinged on reducing regional pollution,” said Liao Hong, a professor at Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology and the co-author of a climate change study published this week. “Now it’s clear that it will require a global effort.”
The study found that the melting of ice in the Arctic, combined with increased snowfall in Siberia, contributed to changes in wind patterns across Asia that winter that failed to clear the air over northern China.
Yuhang Wang, an atmospheric scientist at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta who was a co-author of the study, said the results suggested that Chinese officials would have an especially difficult time curbing air pollution in the winter, when weather conditions are most conducive to smog and more coal is burned for heating.
What this means to you
Changing weather patterns linked to rising global temperatures have resulted in a dearth of wind across northern China, according to several recent studies, exacerbating a wave of severe pollution that has been blamed for millions of premature deaths.
MIRATECH can help
Contact MIRATECH for stationary engine emission control of NOx, CO and VOCs.