Half of the particulate pollution in North America comes from other continents

According to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, University of Maryland at Baltimore County and the Universities Space Research Association:

Roughly half the aerosols that affect air quality and climate change in North America may be coming from other continents, including Asia, Africa and Europe, according to a new study.

Most of the pollution migrating into the North American atmosphere is not industrial emissions but dust from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, , Yu found. Out of the total annual accumulation of foreign aerosols, 87.5 percent is dust from across the Pacific, 6.25 percent is composed of combustion aerosols from the same region and 6.25 percent is Saharan dust from across the Atlantic.

Although they did not discuss the ratio of dust to combustion aerosols from North America, I would not be surprised if the ratio was even larger for particulate pollution in North America. In a previous post, The Battle over Clean Air Standards, I found it easy to conclude from the EPA site on asthma that combustion aerosols have a weak link to asthma. If dust is the major contributor to our problem with particulates then the regulations on coal plants are a very small part of the solution. Every time I look at the science behind the increased coal plant regulations is I find the argument for stronger regulations is just not there.

Half of the particulate pollution in North America comes from other continents
Wed, 22 Aug 2012 23:07:07 GMT