The Arctic sea ice loss during autumn last year has been linked to the extreme air pollution that persisted in East China for over a month in 2013.
According to the latest study increased snowfall and melting ice affected the circular patterns of wind that resulted in the haze lasting a lot longer. Scientists have said that similar events will keep occurring if the Arctic continues to shrink.
Air pollution in China is not new the country has been struggling to solve this issue for a long time, however, 2013 was significant as the pollution lasted for a considerably longer period than normal.
The pollution experienced in 2013 caused a 70% excess of fine particulate matter in daily air quality standard of 74 of China’s major cities. China has taken steps since then to improve the air quality of its cities by shutting down coal power plants.
According to researchers stagnant air condition in China were created due to altered wind patterns which in turn were caused by record loss of ice in Arctic in 2012 and massive snowfall in Siberia.
Yuhang Wand, a professor at Georgia Tech University and also one of the authors of the new study said: “In wintertime, in regions like Beijing you get thee north west howling winds that blow like hell. A ridge system controls the intensity and location of this cold air moving south so what happens when you put in sea ice forcing or snow forcing, the ridge system gets weaker and moves eastward – instead of cold air blowing in the eastern part of China, it went to Korea and Japan in January 2013.”
The researchers concluded that the poor dispersal in 2013 was out of ordinary after analysing the ventilation conditions of the past 35 years. They found out that other climate factors were responsible for these condition; excessive snowfall in Siberia and massive ice loss in the Arctic.
According to professor Wang: “You see evidence in the summer that the particulate matter is getting less, but you don’t see a clear trend in the winter and what we believe is that the effort is being hammered by changes in the Polar region with ice and snow.
“Had the Chinese government not reduced emissions as much as they did in the last four years we would have seen the same or worse airpocalypse events. We haven’t seen it as much because of these emissions reductions and the study shows that if you want to clean up air during the Olympics they have to cut emissions even more drastically than they expected before.”
Researchers are of the point of view that conditions for haze events will remain as the Arctic sea ice will continue to melt because of climate change. They have also warned that these conditions could also threaten the Winter Olympics which are going to be held in Beijing in 2022.