Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Jonathan Kaiman reports at The Guardian that China's air pollution could be intensifying storms over the Pacific Ocean and altering weather patterns in North America leading to more intense cyclones, increased precipitation and more warm air in the mid-Pacific moving towards the north pole. "Mid-latitude storms develop off Asia and they track across the Pacific, coming in to the west coast of the US," says Ellie Highwood, a climate physicist at the University of Reading. "The particles in this model are affecting how strong those storms are, how dense the clouds are, and how much rainfall comes out of those storms." Fossil fuel burning and petrochemical processing in Asia's rapidly developing economies lead to a build-up of aerosols, fine particles suspended in the air. Typically, aerosol formation is thought of as the antithesis to global warming: it cools our Earth's climate. But researchers say, too much of any one thing is never good. "Aerosols provide seeds for cloud formation. If you provide too many seeds, then you fundamentally change cloud patterns and storm patterns," says co-author Renyi Zhang. China's top leaders are aware of the extent of the problem and Beijing will soon revise an important piece of legislation and give environmental protection authorities the power to shut polluting factories, punish officials and restrict industrial development in some areas. The changes to the China's environmental protection law, the first since 1989, will legally enshrine oft-repeated government promises to prioritise environmental protection over economic growth. "The provisions on transparency are probably the most positive step forward," says Alex Wang, expert in Chinese environmental law at UCLA. "These include the requirement that key polluters disclose real-time pollution data."
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