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Map of global air-particulate pollution  (Source: Aaron van Donkelaar, Dalhousie University)
Industrial sector of this region has the highest concentration of particulates

Canadian scientists have developed a map of global air-particulate pollution using National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellite data, and it shows that China's air quality is very poor compared to the rest of the world. 

Aaron van Donkelaar and Randall Martin from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada created the map using satellite data because they believed ground-based detection would be "spotty" in areas or nonexistent. The data used for the map is from 2001 to 2006. 

The map of global air-particulate pollution shows fine particulate matter density worldwide through color-coding, where white and dark blue areas have the lowest concentration of particulates and dark red areas have the highest concentration of particulates. The reddest part of the entire map is Eastern China's industrial area.

Despite the fact that the data used for the map is from 2001 to 2006, The Wall Street Journal noted in July that China's air quality is getting worse, and has not improved since the time period of this data.

In fact, more recent studies, such as the research conducted by a team of scientists who studied air pollution along the Yangtze River Delta in China, proves that China's air quality is only getting worse. This particular study concluded that the Yangtze River Delta is one of the most densely populated areas in the world and the "fastest growing economic development region in China." The area has seen drastic increases in atmospheric emissions and energy consumption, which led the team of researchers to use the Community Multiscale Air Quality model along with an emission inventory to measure baseline concentrations in order to calculate health risks and construct control strategies.

Many health issues arise from poor air quality because fine particulates are capable of passing the body's cilia defenses and penetrating the lungs and blood. Bronchitis, cardiovascular disease and asthma are a few of the illnesses that can come from poor air quality. Through both of these studies, researchers can better understand what China is up against and can develop ways to counter it, saving hundreds of millions of people who live in this area from chronic disease.

This study was published in Environmental Health Perspectives.



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RE: Deserts the main culprit
By theArchMichael on 9/28/2010 3:23:04 PM , Rating: 3
At first glance, I'd say you're right. But, why wouldn't their be a substantial impact in the region of the mojave desert in california, the great sandy desert in Australia or the namibian desert in South Africa?

The last two places lack the population density and industry you stated in your post. But the West Coast of North America... under your assumption there should be much more particulate activity there. Also from the map it doesn't as though particulate matter is confined to the Gobi desert and it's immediate surrounding area. It also extends all the way past China's South Sea.


RE: Deserts the main culprit
By Aloonatic on 9/29/2010 7:59:33 AM , Rating: 2
I was thinking the same things as you an the OP.

I guess that it is probably significant that Australia is an (all be it very large) island, and California has both the gulf and Pacific not too far from it.

I know nothing about weather patterns and winds and such, so I can only speculate that the distances between the deserts in Africa and China and the oceans whist also being part of the the larger Eurasians/African land mass has an effect.

Indeed, if you look at that picture, it seems that there is a big swipe of pollution going from China to Africa, all along a big land mass, quite far from big oceans. Where as the areas that you point out are close to oceans and possibly stronger winds or winds that better clean the air naturally?

Just thinking out aloud, so I hope that makes sense :o)


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