Aerosols from Overseas Rival Domestic Emissions over North America

Yu, H., L. Remer, M. Chin, H. Bian, Q. Tan, T. Yuan, and Y. Zhang (2012), Aerosols from Overseas Rival Domestic Emissions over North America, Science, 337, 566-569, doi:10.1126/science.1217576.

Many types of aerosols have lifetimes long enough for their trans-continental transport, making them potentially important contributors to air quality and climate change in remote locations. Here we estimate that the mass of aerosols arriving at North American shores from overseas is comparable with the total mass of particulates emitted domestically. Curbing domestic emissions of particulates and precursor gases therefore is not sufficient to mitigate aerosol impacts in North America. The imported contribution is dominated by dust leaving Asia, not by combustion-generated particles. Thus, even a reduction of industrial emissions of the emerging economies of Asia could be overwhelmed by an increase of dust emissions due to changes in meteorological conditions and potential desertification.

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Research Program: 
Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)
Modeling Analysis and Prediction Program (MAP)
Radiation Science Program (RSP)