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China Earth

Up To a Quarter of California Smog Comes From China 259

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-can-have-this-back dept.
wabrandsma writes "What goes around comes around – quite literally in the case of smog. The US has outsourced many of its production lines to China and, in return, global winds are exporting the Chinese factories' pollution right back to the U.S. From the article: '...the team combined their emissions data with atmospheric models that predict how winds shuttle particles around. These winds push Chinese smog over the Pacific and dump it on the western US, from Seattle to southern California. The modelling revealed that on any given day in 2006, goods made in China for the US market accounted for up to a quarter of the sulphate smog over the western U.S..'"
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Up To a Quarter of California Smog Comes From China

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  • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @06:49AM (#46044387)

    Nope, definitely low-level; it's a tropospheric transport model. Apparently it's a standard model (GEOS-Chem) that's pretty reliable, and it seems to incorporate interactions between particulates and the surface, including e.g. exchange of particulates between the troposphere and ocean/land.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/ea... [pnas.org]

  • by Firethorn (177587) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @06:59AM (#46044429) Homepage Journal

    Well, I did a quick google search on emissions, a fair bit about cars, not industry. My general conclusion is that the differences are basically a wash. Which is why I mentioned 'aren't even trying, pollution wise'. China for the most part isn't even trying. The USA at least tries.

    A country that is trying to protect itself will generally protect it's neighbors as well.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @07:02AM (#46044439) Journal

    If I am right USA is not interesting in "Kyoto protocol stuff".

    Kyoto protocol covers greenhouse gasses, this study is about smog. I'm sure that there's some overlap, most chemicals do more than one thing; but "Pollution" isn't some sort of uniform, fungible, phenomenon. Different sources, different flavors, different regulatory mechanisms.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @07:05AM (#46044449)

    The New Scientist article has smudged a lot of things from the original text. Basically overall, they find that "EEE-related Chinese pollution contributed about 3–10% of the annual mean surface sulfate concentrations, 1–3% of BC, 2–3% of CO, and 0.5–1.5% of ozone over the western contiguous United States (west of 100W)." However the amount reaching the US was highly variable from day to day (is episodic) because the atmosphere is complicated. It can "save up" pollution and dump it en mass, and on those days, it could account for "12-24% of sulfate concentrations, 2–5% of ozone, 4–6% of CO, and up to 11% of BC over the western United States".

  • Re:Basic Math (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @07:22AM (#46044533)

    One's the average, one's the maximum day-to-day. It fluctuates. It's not the study that's "full of shit", it's that the New Scientist article is written unclearly. You can find the original PNAS at the bottom of the NS piece, can't tell if it's open-access because I've got a golden ticket:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/ea... [pnas.org]

  • by Njovich (553857) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @07:44AM (#46044611)

    Well, it may seem like a wash because it's complicated. The EU only sets broad rules, which the individual countries then must implement.

    Also, you can't always directly compare rules.

    However, For instance for some directly possible comparison:

    SO2 Annual mean is 20 microgram per m^3 in the EU, 79 in US.
    NOx: 40 vs 100 ug/m^3
    PM10: 40 vs 50 ug/m^3
    Ozone: 120 vs 160 ug/m^3 (way of measurement differs slightly)
    CO: same for both 10000 ug/m^3

    These are *huge* differences. It may seem like a wash, but on the scales we are talking about, these are enormous differences.

    Of course, some regulations may be stricter in the US than EU, I didn't do a full on study on this.

    (these numbers may be a couple of years out of date, but I doubt there were many changes)

    Having said that, my previous comment wasn't entirely meant to be serious. In fact, I'm all in favor of applying more pressure on countries to do things about pollution. Also, the EU regulation might be a bit over the top.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 23, 2014 @09:46AM (#46045177)

    Reading comprehension a bit too much for you?

    But wait what about the other 95% of china smog? We need to multiply that US smog by 20 to get it's contribution.

    therefore 20*25% = 500% of W. US sulphate comes from china!!! those sneaky rascals are exporting 5 times as much sulphate tot eh US as they produce in total!

    Wait, what? let's read that again

    The modelling revealed that on any given day in 2006, goods made in China for the US market accounted for up to a quarter of the sulphate smog over the western US.

    So, by your calculation, China is producing 5 times more smog than there's on the US West coast. Most of it (about 19/20, in fact) doesn't get to the US, quite surprising, eh?

    Playing with numbers is nice, but next time try to understand what it is you're computing.

  • by Njovich (553857) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @10:39AM (#46045707)

    There is a huge difference between making a law and applying a law, obviously. This is just standards, not what you will actually find when you measure.

    But here you go:

    China:
    SO2: 20ug/m^3 (60 in urban areas)
    NOx: 50ug/m^3
    PM10: 40ug/m^3 (70 in urban areas)
    Ozone: 160 ug/m^3
    CO: 10000 ug/m^3

  • by Rich0 (548339) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @11:33AM (#46046263) Homepage

    There is a huge difference between making a law and applying a law, obviously. This is just standards, not what you will actually find when you measure.

    But here you go:

    Tell me about it - next to your air quality limits, here are the actual figures for High-tech zone, Shijiazhuang at http://aqicn.org/ [aqicn.org].
    China:
    SO2: 20ug/m^3 (60 in urban areas) - actual 60
    NOx: 50ug/m^3 - actual 73
    PM10: 40ug/m^3 (70 in urban areas) - actual 546!!!!!!!
    Ozone: 160 ug/m^3 - actual 3
    CO: 10000 ug/m^3 - actual 0

    Note that this is a point-in-time value. So, the laws are actually somewhat better than the US, but apparently nobody follows the law.

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