More than three-quarters of the dangerous particulate pollution known as black carbon that blows through the West Coast in the spring comes from Asian sources. China’s new industrialization movement burns a lot of coal, which means that we won’t be able to clean up OUR pollution until we get China to clean up its act.

Alhough the transported black carbon, most of which is soot, is an extremely small component of air pollution at land surface levels, the phenomenon has a significant heating effect on the atmosphere however, it also dims the surface of the ocean by absorbing solar radiation. Researcher Odelle Hadley says, “That’s the primary concern we have with these aerosols. They can really affect global climate.”

Researcher V. Ramanathan says, “The soot heating of the atmosphere exceeds the surface dimming and as a result the long range transported soot amplifies the global warming due to increase in carbon dioxide.”

The researchers found that transported black carbon from Asian sources is equal to 77% of North American black carbon emissions in the troposphere during the spring.

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