Can the environment withstand China’s growing economic might? As one of the planet’s worst polluters, Beijing’s ecological sins are creating problems on a global scale. Many countries are now feeling the consequences.
The cloud of dirt was hard to make out from the ground, but at an altitude of 10,000 meters (32,808 feet), the scientists could see the gigantic mass of ozone, dust and soot with the naked eye. In a specially outfitted aircraft taking off from Munich airport, they surveyed a brownish mixture stretching from Germany all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.
These kinds of clouds float above Europe for most of the year and they’ve traveled far to get there. By analyzing the makeup of particles in the cloud, European scientists were able to identify its origin. “There was a whole bunch from China in there,” says Andreas Stohl, a 38-year-old from the Norwegian Institute for Air Research.
Some 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) to the west, Steven Cliff is slowly winding his way up Mount Tamalpais near San Francisco in his RV. The 36-year-old researcher has installed a complex instrument to measure the air from Asia that reaches the West Coast of the United States over the Pacific Ocean. [Full Text]