WASHINGTON — Pollution from Asia’s booming economies rises into the stratosphere during the monsoon season then circles the world for years, according to a report out Thursday.
A study by the Boulder, Colorado-based National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) said the strong air circulation patterns linked to Asia’s monsoon rainy season serves as a pathway for black carbon, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants to rise into the stratosphere.
The stratosphere is the layer of the atmosphere located some 32 to 40 kilometers (20 to 25 miles) above the Earth’s surface.
“The monsoon is one of the most powerful atmospheric circulation systems on the planet, and it happens to form right over a heavily polluted region,” said NCAR scientist William Randel, the study’s lead author.
“As a result, the monsoon provides a pathway for transporting pollutants up to the stratosphere.”
Using satellite data and computer models, the scientists found that once the pollutants are in the stratosphere they circulate around the globe for several years.
“Some eventually descend back into the lower atmosphere, while others break apart,” read a statement on the study.
Researchers fear that the impact of Asian pollutants on the stratosphere may increase in the next decades due to fierce industrial growth in countries like China and India.
Scientists however do not know the impact of climate change on the Asian monsoon, unsure if it will strengthen or weaken the monsoon’s vertical air movements.
The international study, published in the March 26 edition of the journal Science, was funded by the National Science Foundation together with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Canadian Space Agency.
Privacy rights may become next victim of killer pandemic
Digital surveillance and smartphone technology may prove helpful in containing the coronavirus pandemic -- but some activists fear this could mean lasting harm to privacy and digital rights.
From China to Singapore to Israel, governments have ordered electronic monitoring of their citizens' movements in an effort to limit contagion. In Europe and the United States, technology firms have begun sharing "anonymized" smartphone data to better track the outbreak.
These moves have prompted soul-searching by privacy activists who acknowledge the need for technology to save lives while fretting over the potential for abuse.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards honors staffer who died from COVID-19
Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA) offered a moving tribute to a member of his staff who died from COVID-19.
"On behalf of the first lady and my entire administration, it is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of our dear April, who succumbed to complications from COVID-19," he posted on Twitter, along with photos.
"She brightened everyone’s day with her smile and was an inspiration to everyone who met her," he continued.
"She lived her life to the fullest and improved the lives of countless Louisianans with disabilities as a dedicated staff member in the Governor's Office of Disability Affairs. April worked hard as an advocate for herself & other members of the disability community," he wrote.
Washington state nurses share shocking stories from their war against coronavirus
by Ken Armstrong and Vianna Davila
Nurses at one hospital in southeastern Washington state have alleged that, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they were ordered by supervisors to use one protective mask per shift, potentially exposing themselves to the novel coronavirus.
At another hospital, just east of Seattle, nurses had to use face shields indefinitely.
At a third hospital, on Washington’s border with Oregon, nurses reported that respirators were expired. The hospital responded, the nurses said, by ordering staff to remove stickers showing that the respirators might be as much as three years out of date.