Air pollution frequently reaches dangerous levels in Beijing and often exceeds the World Health Organization’s recommended levels in Delhi. But this isn’t just bad for people who live in the region – it’s bad for people all over the world. A team of scientists from Texas A&M University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the University of California at San Diego and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory discovered that aerosols created by humans in Asia impact storm formation in the United States and beyond. They compared air pollution rates from 1850 to 2000 and found that manmade particles from Asia impact the Pacific storm track that influences weather over much of the world.

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The scientists used detailed pollution emission data compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and looked at two scenarios, one for a rate in 1850 before the industrial revolution and one from 2000. By comparing the results, the team found that aerosols can actually change the weather by impacting cloud formations and mid-latitude cyclones associated with the Pacific storm track. “They tend to make storms deeper and stronger and more intense, and these storms also have more precipitation in them,” says Renyi Zhang from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a former researcher at Texas A&M University.

Related: China’s Pollution is Crossing the Pacific Ocean to Cover the Western US

The air pollution from fast-growing Asian economies is impacting storm formation and global air circulation in the rest of the world. Large amounts of aerosols that travel from Asia across the Pacific can clearly be seen by satellite images. The Pacific storm track transports heat and moisture across the ocean and the scientists think it is intensified by the air flow of pollution generated in Asia.

Via Daily Mail

Photos via Suicup (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons and by Seader (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons