According to new research, Chinese air pollution is linked to the snow Californians normally get in the Sierras this time of year.
Research began in 2009 for the article just published by the Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres. The piece explains in not-quite layman’s terms how dust hitching a ride on high-altitude jet streams from Asia helps produce snow once it comes in contact with the right kind of clouds over the Sierras.
In a year of moderate to prolific snowfall, this could be seen as beneficial to Californians who depend on snow for winter distractions, drinking water and crop irrigation.
But what happens to these toxic particles when there are no water molecules to latch onto them and freeze?
Well, as much as one-third of airborne lead in the San Francisco Bay Area could be from Asia.
While California can do little to control its foreign industrial pollution problem at the current time, the study may give the Bay Area Air Quality Management District a broader picture of the factors influencing air quality in the Bay.
In the meantime, snowfall in the Sierras is at a record low.