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Published: Thursday 01 August, 2013

michael kors us outlet store michael kors us outlet store A brown cloud over Asia blocks both sun and rain



Yet just five years ago, Ramanathan could be startled by the pall he saw from the plane window because experts still thought of smog outbreaks as local, covering a city or filling a river valley. Until recently nobody had seen the goop all in one glance. Cameras on early weather satellites were calibrated for clouds but not hazes. But new fullcolor satellite camera systems now send images of a nearly continuous, 2milethick blanket michael kors us outlet store of sulfates, soot, organic co michael kors us outlet store mpounds, dust, fly ash, and other crud draped across much of India, Bangladesh, and Southeast Asia, including the industrial heart of China.



The sandcolored air of Los Angeles is pristine by comparison. colleagues about foul air back home, wed say we have smog here too, says Lorraine Remer, who analyzes satellite data at NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center. Then we saw the extinction numberssatellite data on how much the brown cloud dims light. Across much of Asia, they were several times higher than anything ever seen in American smog. We were standing there not believing it, she says. In and around India, the researchers found sunlight was reduced by 10 percent. Crop scientists say this is enough to reduce rice yi michael kors us outlet store elds by 3 percent to 10 percent across much of the country.



Ground data in China show the same thing. In Beijing, airborne particulates are routinely five times as high as in Los Angeles. Donald Blake, an atmospheric chemist at the University of CaliforniaIrvine, says that a colleague on a visit asked a group of kindergartners to draw the sky. They all reached for the gray crayon.



Its worse than unsightly. India has 23 cities of more than 1 million people; not one meets World Health Organization pollution standards. Indoor smoke from poorly vented fires is blamed for half a million premature deaths annually in India alone, mostly women and children. In southern China and Southeast Asia, as many as 1.4 million people die annually from pollutionrelated respiratory ills.



Disturbing effect. Researchers are coming to realize that, through a long chain of effects, the brown cloud may also be to blame for drought and flooding. Scientists understanding of how aerosols shape climate is not nearly as well developed as it is for greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, still No. 1 on any list of human impacts on climate. But one common aspect, says Ramanathan, is that the haze and its heating of the atmosphere is sufficient to disturb climate a lot.



Unlike the whitish sulfate particles from cleanerburning power plants in the United States and Europe, the Asian hazes are dark with soot. As a result, they absorb sunlight and can double the rate at which it warms the atmosphere several thousand feet up, while shading and cooling the ground below. Some scientists think that the net effect is to boost global warming. But the more certain impact of the hazes is on rainfall, says Jeff Kiehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. They are radically changing the temperature profile of the atmosphere in many areas, with a big impact on where rain falls and how much. michael kors us outlet store

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