Monday, June 05, 2017

Pollution 'Devastating' China's Vital Ecosystem, Research Shows

Smog over Hangzhou, China (stock image). Credit: © eugenesergeev / Fotolia) Click to Enlarge.
A pioneering new international study, led by the University of Exeter, has looked at the true impact air pollutants have in impeding the local vegetation's ability to absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere.

The study looked at the combined effects that surface ozone and aerosol particles -- two of the primary atmospheric pollutants linked to public health and climate change -- have on China's plant communities' ability to act as a carbon sink.

It found that ozone vegetation damage -- which weakens leaf photosynthesis by oxidizing plant cells -- far outweighs any positive impact aerosol particles may have in promoting carbon uptake by scattering sunlight and cooling temperatures.

While the damage caused to these vital ecosystems in China is not irreversible, the team of experts has warned that only drastic action will offer protection against long-term global warming.

The study is published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

Read more at Pollution 'Devastating' China's Vital Ecosystem, Research Shows

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