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Is Asia's air pollution impacting global weather patterns?

Is air pollution in Asia impacting global weather patterns?

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 7:12 PM -

A new study by NASA scientists suggests that Asia's air pollution could be influencing storms that form over the Pacific Ocean, impacting the U.S.

"Increasing levels of air pollutants in Asia have recently drawn considerable attention, but the effects of Asian pollution outflows on regional climate and global atmospheric circulation remain to be quantified," the study says.

"... Our work provides, for the first time to the authors’ knowledge, a global multiscale perspective of the climatic effects of pollution outflows from Asia."

RELATED: 'Perfect storm' of pollution for Europe

It's theorized that Asia's air pollution may be playing a role in the intense winter storms Canada and the U.S. have been seeing lately.

While the paper focuses on the impact in the Pacific Ocean region, scientists say they're planning to conduct further studies to better understand Asia's impact on the rest of the world.

A smoggy skyline in Shanghai.

For years, officials in many Asian countries have been struggling to combat pollution due to rapid urbanization and a massive industrial sector.

In some places --  like Beijing, China -- smog is a persistent problem.

RELATED: 'Perfect storm' of pollution for Europe

The city's air quality index regularly exceeds 500 micrograms of the dangerous particulate PM2.5, while the World Health Organization recommends a maximum daily level of 20 micrograms.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, levels higher than 300 micrograms per cubic meter are considered "hazardous."

The complete findings of the NASA study can be found online at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

With files from CNN

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