Drifting wings & the air we breathe
Not convinced that air pollution is a global issue? Did you read our last post about China and think, “That’s another continent far, far away. How could anything they do possible affect me?”
Well, according to a study recently published in the Science Journal, dust particles blown thousands of miles from Asia and Africa have been discovered in California’s water supply. The increase in dust in the atmosphere has been linked to an increase in rain and snowfall in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, as well. The study took place over a two-year period, during which researchers collected samples of the atmosphere over the mountain range. What they found was startling.
“There was this sort of magical switch. The days with dust you see one thing, and the days without dust you see a different thing,” said Kim Prather, an atmospheric chemist who coauthored the study.
So, this has to be proof positive to the nonbelievers out there. Traces of PM2.5 in Beijing will, given enough time, make their way across the globe and into our air and drinking water. This is why the world needs to be watching China’s annual legislative hearing carefully. In fact, every country should be keeping a watchful eye on one another. Perhaps then, through sheer paranoia, the world will be motivated to work towards a united clean up effort.
“The fact that something happening on another continent, in terms of dust generation, could influence precipitation patterns in the U.S — that’s a challenging problem,” said Marty Ralph, the study’s coauthor and a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
How did they know the dust was from China, you ask? Well, all airborne particles carry with them a chemical fingerprint, which allows scientists like Prather and Ralph to track their movement from anywhere, to anywhere, in the world.
Again, this is why they call it ‘global’ warming. The environmental crisis we’re currently facing, which includes issues from gas fracking to carbon emissions, melting ice caps to outdated energy infrastructures, may seem abstract at times, but that’s only because it’s such a wide-spread problem with complex sociopolitical implications. But complexity is no excuse to give up. We must never forget that one person can make a difference. With vision, determination, and informed judgement, we can leave this world a better place than the one we inherited.
Because every person, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation, enjoys breathing.
[ Air pollution, China, Climate change, Globalization, NRGLab ]