Several articles this week linked pollution in Asia to impacts on agriculture across the world. As you probably know, pollution in China has caused significant health issues locally, including adverse impacts on local crops. But according to an article on pollutionpolllution.com, many eyebrows are being raised at China’s attempt to reduce pollution by cracking down on roadside barbecue stands. Considering all the other sources of pollution in China and the relatively small scale of these roadside operations, is this really the best way to curb pollution? You can read the story by clicking here.
Meanwhile, recently published research (described in National Geographic here) on the impacts of aerosols from China, including the smoke from barbecue stalls as well as industrial pollution, shows that the increased amount of particles can affect the energy balance of the atmosphere and affect atmospheric circulation patterns across the world. Simulations of the changes shows that Pacific storms may become stronger and the Pacific storm track may shift, changing temperature and precipitation patterns in unpredictable ways. The aerosols have both direct warming and cooling impacts on the atmosphere by interacting with incoming sunlight and secondary effects related to cloud development, which is hard to model accurately in current climate models.
More locally, Reuters published a story yesterday which described the impacts of ground-level ozone on crops in India. The story here indicates that enough crops are killed due to ozone to feed a third of the country’s impoverished people, about 100 million poor a year. Wheat is the crop most affected by the ozone but losses are also seen in rice and other food crops as well as cotton.