Asia's Other Export Boom — "Second-Hand Smog" To California

Tyler Durden's picture

It’s no secret that China has a pollution problem and as we outlined last month, smog may indeed end up near the top of the scapegoat list when it’s time to explain why GDP growth fell woefully short of the official 7% target (a target which, thanks to a contraction-territory PMI print and a horrendous drop in rail freight looks even more unrealistic than it did before). When it comes to estimating the economic impact of President Xi’s “war on pollution” (which we hope is more effective than America’s “war on drugs”), Bloomberg thinks industrial production may take a 20% hit if Beijing hopes to hit even its own clean air targets — the figure is much higher if China wants to match international standards. Fortunately, China is especially adept when it comes to exporting things and new research suggests the Chinese economy may be hard at work shipping pollution overseas. Here’s more from UC Davis:

Approximately 10 percent of ozone pollution in California’s San Joaquin Valley is estimated to be coming from outside of the state’s borders, particularly from Asia, according to preliminary research presented today, March 31, by the University of California, Davis.


Secondhand smog from Asia and other international sources is finding its way into one of the nation’s most polluted air basins, the San Joaquin Valley. UC Davis atmospheric scientist Ian Faloona shared his research with air quality regulators and scientists today at a transboundary pollution conference near Yosemite National Park. The issue serves as an example of how air quality is a global — not just local — problem.


“To me, it’s an exciting new chapter of how we think of air pollution,” Faloona said. “How do we deal with this not just as an air district of a couple of counties, but as a nation and a global citizen of the planet? Traditionally, air pollution has always been considered an issue to be handled locally, ‘It’s your backyard, it’s your problem.’ But we’re going to have to treat air pollution to some extent how we treat greenhouse gases.”

And here’s the sound bite:


Meanwhile, a study by researchers from Cambridge and several Malaysian universities suggests a similar dynamic. Here’s the abstract

Anthropogenic emissions from East Asia have increased over recent decades. These increases have led to changes in atmospheric composition as far afield as North America under the prevailing westerly winds. Here we show that, during Northern Hemisphere (NH) winter, pollution originating in East Asia also directly affects atmospheric composition in the deep tropics. We present observations of marked intra-seasonal variability in the anthropogenic tracer perchloroethene (C2Cl4) collected at two locations in Borneo (117.84° E, 4.98° N and 118.00° E, 4.22° N) during the NH winter of 2008/2009. We use trajectories calculated with the Numerical Atmospheric-dispersion Modelling Environment to show that the observed enhancements in C2Cl4 mixing ratio are caused by rapid meridional transport, in the form of "cold surges", from the relatively polluted East Asian land mass. In these events air masses can move from ~35° N to Borneo in 4 days. 

...and a bit more from RT:

Another study by UK and Malaysian researchers, published the same day in Europe, showed air pollution from China could travel as much as 1000 kilometers a day during the “cold surges,” swiftly reaching the tropics. From there, it would be swept up into the stratosphere during the winter thunderstorms.

So we suppose the question is this: if we count pollution exports towards GDP, is it possible to get to 7% this year? 

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LetThemEatRand's picture

Fortunately, carbon emissions are a hoax.  And multi-national corporations will self-regulate if just given the chance in countries that don't have insane civilian imposed regulations.  And mankind is too puny to affect their own air quality and climate.  

Richard Chesler's picture

Fuck you and your "we need more .gov" ideology.


Manthong's picture

First it was the Imperial Japanese bombarding us with jetstream balloon bombs.

Now it’s the Chicoms pelting us with prevailing wind pollutants.

What The Fu-Go ??

Is there no end to this Asian barbarity?


Newsboy's picture

Fungible; it turns out that air pollution is fungible.

Who could have known?

Stuck on Zero's picture

At the top of the Palm Springs Tram, at 9000 feet, there is a stunning view over the deserts and mountains to the East. A brass plaque labels all the distant mountain ranges that were visible in the 1960s.  Today there are little side notes that say: Hasn't been seen since 1975, hasn't been seen since 1885. Hasn't been seen since 1996. etc. Skies in the Southwest used to be blue black at the Zenith.  Visibility was in the hundreds of miles. The entire World lives under a grey pall today.

What is that brass placque going to say in twenty years?

de3de8's picture

California lib-tard grennies getting what they deserve by ignoring the real issues at hand. Karma

LetThemEatRand's picture

"Fuck you and your "we need more .gov" ideology."

Did it ever occur to you that it's not an either/or?  More government at the moment means more oligarch controlled government.  The same oligarchs who are polluting.  What I advocate is limited government that keeps the oligarchs in check.

 Your black and white ideology is beyond stupid, and borders on insane.

runswithscissors's picture

the irony is the dumbmasses in the USSA buy all the cheap chinese crap that is being produced while choking on the emissions from the commie sweatshops-factories, all while the oligachs get paper "rich" Then all the cheap fucking toxic shit goes right to the landfills...

malek's picture

Come on LTER, you can turn up the bullshit a bit more.

Something along the lines of
  communism would also be fantastic, if all people would continuously overcome the personal wants and needs
for example

Advocating an "a little bit pregnant" approach to government, and then calling the ones criticizing you stupid is just too bashful for you.

Berspankme's picture

Have to stop China's growth. Another bullshit article

JustObserving's picture

It is not just ozone that is a gift from China:

Typical westerly wind flows across the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere mean air pollution from China is often carried over the Pacific Ocean. If the weather conditions are right, contaminants including mercury, ozone, sulphur and nitrogen oxides, black carbon and desert dust, can reach the west coast of the US within days.

Antifaschistische's picture

This article is a red herring!!   How about, 90% of the smog in the San Joaquin Valley blows in fom the San Fransicco Bay area....which enjoys the fresh air blowing in off the Pacific, as all their SF smog blows through the passes and into the San Joaquin Valley.   The SF Bay area gets nice clean air as they flush their crap inland.

Bay Area Guy's picture

JustObserving Add the radiation coming from Fukushima in to the mix and you have a real party.

COSMOS's picture

That means you can now see your ozone glow at night.

JustObserving's picture

Fukushima will be spewing radiation for the next 200 years:

Japan faces 200-year wait for Fukushima clean-up — The chief of the Fukushima nuclear power station has admitted that the technology needed to decommission three melted-down reactors does not exist, and he has no idea how it will be developed. In a stark reminder of the challenge facing the Japanese authorities, Akira Ono conceded that the stated goal of decommissioning the plant by 2051 may be impossible without a giant technological leap. “There are so many uncertainties involved. We need to develop many, many technologies,

Real Estate Geek's picture

Ya might want to add a couple of zeros to that estimate . . .

Cheduba's picture

The issue serves as an example of how air quality is a global — not just local — problem.  “To me, it’s an exciting new chapter of how we think of air pollution"

Great, so this will be seen as a need for global environmental regulations, more centralization, and globalization.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Interesting take on this.  The multi-nationals convinced the Chinese to let them come in and build without limitations on effluent.  The effluent now affects the U.S.  So kill the people who allowed the multi-nationals in?

q99x2's picture

I wondered why my eyes were slanting.

the not so mighty maximiza's picture

i love the smaill of wet farts from china in the morning

Unwashed's picture

Speculating even further, I wonder if China's pollution is contributing to California's drought.

Paralleling the situation described in the paper:

Pollution in Northern Hemisphere helped cause 1980s African drought Summary: Air pollution in the Northern Hemisphere in the mid-20th century cooled the upper half of the planet and pushed rain bands south, contributing to the prolonged and worsening drought in Africa's Sahel region. Clean air legislation in the 1980s reversed the trend and the drought lessened.
conscious being's picture

Very weird to me how chemtrails became a forgotten phenom among the ZHers. Maybe all the smart people left already?

Real Estate Geek's picture

Forgotten???  Seriously? 

You can't get through a thread, regardless of the topic, without someone shoehorning in a post about chemtrails/

Yen Cross's picture

 The Bank of Japan needs to be reined in. They're completely out of control! They're starting to cause instability in secondary F/X markets.

 The Treasury Secretary needs to have a one on one with Kuroda and Abe. Japan is on a self destruct course. I'm watching f/x flows and JGB yields. I've never seen such divergence in my life.


  Knuks, don't forget your water bottle.

RSDallas's picture

that dim wit Al Gore should be yapping to China, the US

crashguru's picture

Who would have thought ....

Last of the Middle Class's picture

Now let me get this right. Smog is coming to California, the land of buy more ishit, from China where they have all their Ishit made inorder to make more profits. That's fucking hilarious. Add fukishima radiation in the mix and that makes my damn day. Shiitttt I'll be smiling all damn weekend now.

random999's picture

Fuck the economy! Its a hoax!

Making a gadget that is twice as durable will not make people poorer!

Mike Honcho's picture

Cali folks are likely to vote for stringent EPA rules, which drives business away, to a country with no regulation, so the imported pollution has much more pollutants, (cue Charlie Sheen)