Local Air Pollution Could Be from Mongolian Desert ; New Research Shows That Pollutants Are Hitching Rides on Dust Plumes from Asia and Coming over to America

By Cowen, Robert C. | The Christian Science Monitor, December 13, 2001 | Go to article overview

Local Air Pollution Could Be from Mongolian Desert ; New Research Shows That Pollutants Are Hitching Rides on Dust Plumes from Asia and Coming over to America


Cowen, Robert C., The Christian Science Monitor


Thomas Cahill has a warning for Northern Hemisphere residents. Cleaning up polluters in your own part of the world won't guarantee you have clean air, he says. Nasty stuff can drift in from sources half way around the world - for example, the highest levels of arsenic in Nevada come from Mongolia.

Dr. Cahill, an atmospheric scientist at the University of California at Davis, is part of an international team that has finally had a good look at what's in the Asian dust plumes that cross the Pacific, spread over North America, and drift out over the Atlantic. They're finding that toxic metals and other man-made pollutants are hitching rides on the desert dust, making the plumes an effective long-distance pollution transport system.

In recent years, scientists have become increasingly concerned about the large-scale environmental effects of aerosols - particles suspended in air.

Some aerosols can cause cooling by reflecting incoming sunlight back into space. Others absorb sunlight and warm up the air. This can offset or enhance the regional effects of carbon dioxide-driven global warming.

But, the climate effect may be more subtle than just cooling or warming. In the Dec. 7 issue of the journal Science, Paul Crutzen and V. Ramanathan at the University of California in San Diego explain that one of the biggest effects could be to reduce the planet's fresh water supply.

They took part in an international study of the effects of Asian aerosols on the Indian Ocean. Dr. Ramanathan explains they found that aerosols are cutting down the sunlight going into the ocean. That sunlight evaporates seawater that later falls out of the air as rain. "So as aerosols cut down sunlight by large amounts, they may be spinning down the hydrological cycle of the planet," Ramanathan says.

Scientists need to know more about the nature and extent of atmospheric aerosols before they can fully assess any proposed environmental effects. Additionally, an understanding of the effect of aerosols is crucial to the accuracy of computer simulations of climate change.

That could prove difficult.

The study of the Asian dust plumes showed an unexpected complex structure that will be hard for computers to simulate, says Barry Huebert from the University of Hawaii at Honolulu. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Local Air Pollution Could Be from Mongolian Desert ; New Research Shows That Pollutants Are Hitching Rides on Dust Plumes from Asia and Coming over to America
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.