Nav: Home

Global climate change worsens winter haze in China

March 15, 2017

Emissions were not entirely to blame for one of China's worst haze pollution events on record, according to a new study; rather, the heavily polluted air observed over the East China Plains in 2013 was a consequence of decreasing Arctic sea ice and increasing Eurasian snow that together produced stagnant atmospheric conditions in the region. The findings are an example of how large-scale perturbations caused by global climate change can have significant regional impacts. In January 2013, the East China Plains suffered from unprecedented large-scale haze lasting almost an entire month, a so-called "airpocalypse." Researchers have studied short-term weather conditions, such as a weak East Asian winter monsoon, contributing to the event, but the underlying climate effects are still not well understood. Despite years of reduced emissions, severe winter haze has persisted in the region, indicating other factors may also be at play. Yufei Zou and colleagues studied ventilation conditions over the last 35 years in the region, which is made up of interconnected horseshoe-shaped basins where ventilation of air pollutants relies heavily on large-scale weather systems. By looking at wind speed and air temperature data, Zou et al. created their own "Pollution Potential Index" to quantify the effect of ventilation on air pollution. The results connect the 2013 haze event to poor ventilation conditions that have not been seen in the past three decades. The authors also analyzed climate-related patterns that contribute to poor ventilation and extreme haze. The findings suggest that Arctic sea ice loss the autumn before January 2013, as well as extensive boreal snow in the preceding months, drove the haze event. If Arctic sea ice continues to melt, similar poor ventilation conditions in winter may occur more frequently in eastern China. The authors say this finding provides a "strong incentive" for more stringent emission reductions in China and note that haze could affect Beijing's hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Emissions Articles:

Methane emissions from trees
A new study from the University of Delaware is one of the first in the world to show that tree trunks in upland forests actually emit methane rather than store it, representing a new, previously unaccounted source of this powerful greenhouse gas.
Emissions from the edge of the forest
Half of the carbon stored in all of the Earth's vegetation is contained in tropical forests.
An overlooked source of carbon emissions
Nations that pledged to carry out the Paris climate agreement have moved forward to find practical ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including efforts to ban hydrofluorocarbons and set stricter fuel-efficiency standards.
New method for quantifying methane emissions from manure management
The EU Commision requires Denmark to reduce drastically emissions of greenhouse gases from agriculture.
'Watchdog' for greenhouse gas emissions
Mistakes can happen when estimating emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.
A lower limit for future climate emissions
A new study finds that the world can emit even less greenhouse gases than previously estimated in order to limit climate change to less than 2°C.
Study: Second-generation biofuels can reduce emissions
Second-generation biofuel crops like the perennial grasses Miscanthus and switchgrass can efficiently meet emission reduction goals without significantly displacing cropland used for food production, according to a new study.
Large and increasing methane emissions from northern lakes
Climate-sensitive regions in the north are home to most of the world's lakes.
Global CO2 emissions projected to stall in 2015
Global carbon emissions are projected to stall in 2015, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia and the Global Carbon Project.
DXL-2: Studying X-ray emissions in space
On Dec. 4, 2015, NASA will launch the DXL-2 payload at 11:45 p.m.

Related Emissions Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Failure can feel lonely and final. But can we learn from failure, even reframe it, to feel more like a temporary setback? This hour, TED speakers on changing a crushing defeat into a stepping stone. Guests include entrepreneur Leticia Gasca, psychology professor Alison Ledgerwood, astronomer Phil Plait, former professional athlete Charly Haversat, and UPS training manager Jon Bowers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".