We’ve written before about how dust blowing from China can change the weather in California. Now researchers have begun tracking a huge dust plume they believe they might affect clouds and weather across thousands of miles while playing a role in global warming.

Scientists are using high tech aircraft to study plumes of airborne dust and pollutants that originate in Asia and journey to North America. The plumes are among the largest such events on Earth. The first mission will be launched in late April, when these weather patterns begin in Asia, and the study will continue for two months.

While many particles in the plumes, such as sulfates, cool the planet by blocking solar radiation from reaching Earth, other particles, such as black carbon, can have a warming effect. Warming in the coming decades will be strongly influenced by how particle emissions change, particularly in Asia.

China has a larger effect on our part of the world than many of us would like to think, but before we become frantic, we need to look at the broad sweep of history. Here at unknowncountry.com, we help you do that in many different ways, so make sure we’ll be here tomorrow: subscribe today!

NOTE: This news story, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.