Remnants of China’s looming smog have been carried across the Pacific and are raising AQI’s as far away as the American West Coast. Japan threw a fit when hit by wandering clouds of PM2.5 last year, and the Americans aren’t exactly thrilled.
Powerful winds (those bastards!) have been pushing China’s lovely particulate matter over the ocean to California, where it accumulates in the state’s valleys. The Sinosphere blog at the New York Times was first to report on this lovely happening:
Powerful global winds called westerlies can carry pollutants from China across the Pacific within days, leading to “dangerous spikes in contaminants,” especially during the spring […]
“Los Angeles experiences at least one extra day a year of smog that exceeds federal ozone limits because of nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide emitted by Chinese factories making goods for export,” the statement [from the University of California, Irvine] said. […]
Residents of nations in the path of winds carrying pollutants from China have grown alarmed at what they believe to be deteriorating air quality in their countries because of that pollution. In Japan, for instance, an environmental engineer has attributed a mysterious pestilence that is killing trees on Yakushima Island to pollutants from China.
The amount of smog that has reached the US is fairly limited, and is dwarfed by the Americans’ own pollution efforts. Still, this kind of story has the right ingredients (the international crowd loves airpocalypse headlines) to prompt Americans to lament that their country doesn’t even make its own smog any more.
[Image via Flickr]