Science

Heat Waves And Pollution In Asia Worsen US Smog

By Donna Bellevue , Mar 06, 2017 12:10 AM EST
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BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 29: A Chinese man wears a mask as he waits to cross the road near the CCTV building during heavy smog on November 29, 2014 in Beijing, China. United States President Barack Obama and China's president Xi Jinping agreed on a plan to limit carbon emissions by their countries, which are the world's two biggest polluters, at a summit in Beijing earlier this month. (Photo : Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

The combination of heat waves and pollution in major cities in Asia has worsened smog In the US. Concurrent hot spells and damaging air pollution affect air quality that people breathe which poses major health risks to human health. According to new research from the University of California, heat waves can be deadly for vulnerable individuals, while surface and air pollution are linked to premature death from heart disease, stroke and lung ailments.

Pollution from Asia affects US climate in two ways, researchers from the Princeton University and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory say.First, it makes heat waves more and more frequent. Second, it worsens the effects of smog.
Researchers looked at heat wave and pollution records from the late 20th century to today. They studies ground level ozone, which is different from upper level ozone. Ground level ozone makes up smog, and despite air control regulations which have cut smog-forming chemicals by 50 percent, smog levels still climb, the CDA News reports.

Another study which focuses on the health effects of global warming finds that meteorological and environmental effects contribute to widespread premature deaths. "These extreme, multi day events tend to cluster and overlap, worsening the health impacts beyond the sum of their individual effects," UCI professor of Earth system science Michael J. Prather, and co-author of the study, says. Humans only make the problem worse by consuming more fossil fuel-generated energy to run air conditioners, he adds.

According to the Phys Org, the effects of heat waves and air pollutions are magnified by slow-moving high-pressure systems that accumulate pollutants and heat during the summer months. Burning temperatures, low precipitation, strong sunlight and low wind speeds allow heat and poor-quality air to stagnate in a given location for an extended period of time. Prather warns that the combined effects of pollution and prolonged heat events are expected to become more prevalent in a warming climate.

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