Long-range tropospheric transport of acidic and non-acidic contaminants into or across the Pacific Ocean from sources originating in Pacific Rim countries and beyond (trans-Pacific air pollution, for short) is an emerging international environmental issue. This paper provides a definition of trans-Pacific air pollution; summarizes some of the scientific evidence for what seems to be the dominant pollutant pathway in the Asia-Pacific region, transport on westerly winds from Asia to North America; discusses a recent conference on trans-Pacific air pollution; and analyzes some of the political implications of the problem. Evidence for trans-Pacific air pollution comes from three main sources: observational data, computer simulations, and research on concentrations of pollutants in various media. Trans-Pacific air pollution is of political consequence. There may be wide-ranging physical and chemical effects if the relatively pristine air of the Pacific troposphere is altered. Domestic air quality along the west coast of North America may be altered. Degradation of the Arctic environment may be accelerated. The issue reinforces the need for greater international cooperation on environmental issues in the Asia-Pacific region.
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- Trans-Pacific Air Pollution: Scientific Evidence & Political Implications
Kenneth E. Wilkening
- Springer Netherlands