“The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago … had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands.”
~ Havelock Ellis, THE DANCE Of LIFE, 1923
British writer, physician and social reformer
“Made in China.” Where have we seen this printed, stamped and stitched? Everywhere. By the end of 2013, the Chinese government was able to claim the title of “the world’s biggest trader of goods” according to Bloomberg News (Jan. 9, 2014). China already ranked No. 1 in export of their goods in 2012, as documented in the World Trade Organization’s international trade statistics. The U.S. stands at No. 2. In economic size, the gross domestic product of China is half that of the U.S.
Though I am not an economist, the world of trade is an interesting one. Lots of things going back and forth between the two countries; some good, some not so good and one – not good at all.
First of all, what do we send to the Chinese people? Lots of soybeans and cars, plastics, industrial machinery, pulpwood/paper, copper, organic chemicals, various metals and the list goes on…
And on the other side of the ocean? China’s exports to America amount to 19% of overall U.S. imports. Electronic equipment is at the top of the list. In order are electronic equipment (mainly computers), machinery, furniture, toys, footwear, clothing, plastics, iron/steel products and vehicles. The export is what Weather in The Foothills is most interested in is. No, it is not weather-related equipment. I wish it was as simple and enjoyable, but no … it is air pollution!
Extreme air pollution, not only in China but throughout Asia, is affecting the world’s weather and climate patterns according to a study by Texas A&M and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory researchers and atmospheric professors Yuan Wang, Renyi Zhang and R. Saravanan. Their findings are published in January’s issue of “Nature Communications.” The information is based on studies of models and data gathered about aerosols and meteorology spanning a 30-year time period. Though the concern and evidence are not necessarily new, the continued direction and severity of the pollution is cause for worry. No blame; after all, we are all consumers. But on the flip side, most Asian countries don’t have laws and regulations to protect air quality. After 30 years of a booming economy, based on manufacturing factories and industrial plants, the results are evident worldwide.
To better understand the severity, pollution levels in China’s cities are often 100 times higher than what is acceptable in the U.S. While there is concern for all people, the U.S west coast receives the lion’s share of these pollutants.
It seems the pollution rises into the upper regions of the atmosphere and are swept up by the jet stream or “westerlies.” Destination: California. Smog levels increase and our climate and weather are impacted. In a scientific nutshell, more pollution equals less precipitation (rain).
Rain? A cold front is headed our way, but unfortunately the chance for real rain stops at SLO although we may get drizzles from a deepening marine layer. Being located along the mountains, we can sometimes be surprised by a rainstorm. Meteorologists are tracking two more lows, but are uncertain of their potential.
As we progress into next week, temperatures remain mild. Daytime highs in the upper 60s and low 70s, with nights in the 40s are predicted. No rain is in the picture through the end of next week. I think we can cancel umbrella (most likely made in China) orders for the time being.
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service.
Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.