Claim: China’s severe winter haze tied to effects of global climate change

From the GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY and the “never mind that industrial pollution it’s climate change driving sea ice loss wot dun it” department. Note the bolded section of the press release I highlighted.

This is a photo taken in the city of Taiyuan, China shows haze on December 3, 2016. CREDIT Courtesy of Yuhang Wang

China’s severe winter air pollution problems may be worsened by changes in atmospheric circulation prompted by Arctic sea ice loss and increased Eurasian snowfall – both caused by global climate change.

Modeling and data analysis done by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology suggest that sea ice and snowfall changes have shifted China’s winter monsoon, helping create stagnant atmospheric conditions that trap pollution over the country’s major population and industrial centers. Those changes in regional atmospheric conditions are frustrating efforts to address pollution through emission controls.

“Emissions in China have been decreasing over the last four years, but the severe winter haze is not getting better,” said Yuhang Wang, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. “Mostly, that’s because of a very rapid change in the high polar regions where sea ice is decreasing and snowfall is increasing. This perturbation keeps cold air from getting into the eastern parts of China where it would flush out the air pollution.”

To be reported March 15 in the journal Science Advances, the research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Environmental Protection Agency. The paper presents a clear example of how large-scale perturbations caused by global climate change can have significant regional impacts, and is believed to be the first to link sea ice and snowfall levels to regional air pollution.

Haze problems in the East China Plains – which include the capital Beijing – first gained worldwide attention during the winter of 2013 when an instrument at the U.S. embassy recorded extremely high levels of PM 2.5 particles. The haze prompted the Chinese government to institute strict targets for reducing emissions from industry and other sources.

Though these emission controls appear to be working, the haze during December and January continues. So Wang and colleagues Yufei Zou, Yuzhong Zhang and Ja-Ho Koo wondered if other factors may be playing a role.

Long-term air quality measurements aren’t available in China, so the researchers had to piece together estimates based on visibility measures and satellite data. To analyze the historical records, they created a new Pollution Potential Index (PPI) that used air temperature gradient anomalies and surface wind speeds as a proxy for ventilation conditions over eastern China.

“Once we generated the PPI and combined it with the visibility data, it was obvious that January 2013 was well beyond anything that had ever been seen before going back at least three decades,” said Wang. “But in that month emissions had not changed, so we knew there had to be another factor.”

The East China Plains consist of interconnected basins surrounded by mountain ranges to the west and the ocean to the east, a mirror image of the polluted Southern California. Pollution generated by industry and vehicles can be removed effectively only by horizontal dispersion or by vertical mixing in winter, and when those processes fail to move out stagnant air, pollution builds up. It seemed likely that something was preventing the ventilation that would have kept the air cleaner.

The researchers next looked at climate features such as sea ice, snowfall, El Niños, and Pacific Oscillations. They conducted principal component and maximum covariance analyses and found correlations of stagnant air conditions over China to Arctic sea ice – which reached a record low in the fall of 2012 – and snowfall in the upper latitudes of Siberia, which had reached a record high earlier in the winter. They then used atmospheric model simulations to study how those factors change large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns and pollution ventilation over eastern China.

“The reductions in sea ice and increase in snowfall have the effect of damping the climatological pressure ridge structure over China,” Wang said. “That flattens the temperature and pressure gradients and moves the East Asian Winter Monsoon to the east, decreasing wind speeds and creating an atmospheric circulation that makes the air in China more stagnant.”

The results of the model were consistent with observations that Korea and Japan had been unusually cold that winter, while eastern China had been unusually warm – both suggesting that the cold center had moved.

The winter of 2017 saw the same factors, with low levels of Arctic sea ice in September 2016, high snowfall – and severe haze. Wang says those factors are likely to continue as the global climate change disrupts the normal structure of the atmosphere.

“Despite the efforts to reduce emissions, we think that haze will probably continue for the future,” he said. “This is partly climate-driven now, so it probably won’t get much better in the winter. Emissions are no longer the only driver of these conditions.”

Wang hopes to continue the study using new data from China’s air quality monitoring network. The impact of global climate change, he said, may be unique to China because of its geography and sensitivity to changes in atmospheric circulation structure. Though the problem is now manifested in air pollution, he said the results of the study should encourage the nation to continue addressing climate change.

“The very rapid change in polar warming is really having a large impact on China,” he said. “That gives China an incentive to not only follow through on air pollutant emission reductions, and also to look at the potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our research shows that cutting greenhouse gases would help with the winter haze problem.”


This work was supported by the National Science Foundation Atmospheric Chemistry Program and the U.S. EPA Science To Achieve Results (STAR) Program through grant RD-83520401. It has not been subjected to any EPA review and therefore does not necessarily reflect the views of the EPA, and no official endorsement should be inferred. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsoring agencies.

CITATION: Yufei Zou, Yuhang Wang, Yuzhong Zhang, Ja-Ho Koo, “Arctic sea ice, Eurasia snow, and extreme winter haze in China,” (Science Advances, 2017).

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March 16, 2017 3:16 am

So it “may” be linked to climate change. Equally it may not. They haven’t much of a clue. I am fed up to the eye teeth with papers like this. How about they publish one when they “know” something for a change?

Reply to  David Johnson
March 16, 2017 5:29 am

Oh come on, there’s no money in that.

Reply to  David Johnson
March 16, 2017 5:56 am

Even if there are changes in sea ice levels in the arctic, they have no evidence that it is caused by man.

Richard M
Reply to  MarkW
March 16, 2017 7:47 am

Exactly, as I’ve stated many times it is even more likely due to the +AMO which probably has even more influence over wind patterns. I suspect this is similar to the patterns back in the 1950s if they had bothered to check. Oh wait, that would require a scientific mindset, not something that generates grant money.

steve d
Reply to  David Johnson
March 17, 2017 3:16 pm

I have read a lot of the comments on this page. I find it mostly consists of abuse and denial. I was scrolling down to see if there were any links to data or science to refute the claims in the article. I was expecting a link to the bible indicating that god is doing it so dont worry y’all this is his plan. That would have been good for a laugh. When fefuting science we should have a new rule. You should be able to point to science that backs up your abuse or denial. That would be the rational thing to do. OK I’m ready for the abuse and name calling and the attack on my intellect, but what I would really like is peer reviwed science as a response.

Ian S
Reply to  steve d
March 20, 2017 4:52 am

So let me get this right .. you will ony accept a PEER REVIEWED rebuttal of nothing more than a vague hypothesis?

Ian Macdonald
March 16, 2017 3:18 am

A thing is caused by climate change.. if it’s longer than it’s wide.

Stephen Greene
Reply to  Ian Macdonald
March 16, 2017 2:40 pm

I am stunned. I got nothing. I never knew 0.5C could have such devastating effects. I got nuthin, Sorry, this is SO SHITTY I will not even invest ANY time to it!

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
Reply to  Ian Macdonald
March 16, 2017 4:56 pm

The haze phenomenon all over the globe in winter months is mainly associated with the mixing depth — inversion layer height and wind direction & velocity — factor under polluting condition. This varies with year to year.

China may not have the pollution data but sure they got the met data. They can construct the mixing depths and see whether they changed to attribute snow and other things?

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

March 16, 2017 3:43 am

Posted in the Guardian as an article of fact, though strangely no comments are allowed. Lol. Perhaps because it’s obviously complete and utter b*ll*cks.

Reply to  CheshireRed
March 16, 2017 3:52 am

‘Long-term air quality measurements aren’t available in China, so the researchers had to piece together estimates based on visibility measures and satellite data.’

Oh, and btw the Guardian seems to have omitted this part. You know…the bit where they use fancy language to sound credible but actually admit to MAKING IT UP.

Reply to  CheshireRed
March 16, 2017 5:57 am

Oh come now, it’s not that bad. It’s a SCIENTIFIC Wild Assed Guess.

Reply to  CheshireRed
March 16, 2017 10:25 am

Are you saying the “estimates” are based on a model? Where have I heard that before?

Reply to  CheshireRed
March 16, 2017 9:10 am

I could swear what’s in that picture looks like LA and Houston smog during rush hour(s). Guess it’s probably my lying eyes again. They play jokes on me like this occasionally. Did you know they sell fresh canned air in cities in China?

Bloke down the pub
March 16, 2017 4:01 am

Amazing how much of the effects of global warming materialize as colder temperatures.

March 16, 2017 4:08 am

What is the cry they use in the UK when bad soccer is being played/\


Reply to  AndyG55
March 16, 2017 4:43 am

But it is funny rubbish at least…

high polar regions where sea ice is decreasing and snowfall is increasing.

Yeah but, no but, yeah but, no but, yeah but, no but,

March 16, 2017 4:13 am

The slightly lower levels of Arctic ice in September were caused by a Jet Stream anomaly trapping “less cold” air over the Franz Joseph region.

Why is there never any mention of the flip side, the anomalous COLD over northern Russia which actually KILLED people !!

It seems that a tiny reduction in Arctic sea ice is far more important that actual human life to the AGW scammers.

Reply to  AndyG55
March 16, 2017 4:21 am

typo.. Franz Joseph = Franz Josef

Rhoda R
Reply to  AndyG55
March 16, 2017 10:42 am

“It seems that a tiny reduction in Arctic sea ice is far more important that actual human life to the AGW scammers.”

It is. Unless they can tie human deaths to AGW, of course. Then they’d be all over it.

March 16, 2017 4:20 am

Personally I am quite okay with China keeping their pollution. Its as if the authors believe that if only the US stopped generating electricity then magically the soot generated by China would disappear.

Reply to  chadb
March 16, 2017 7:41 am

“This perturbation keeps cold air from getting into the eastern parts of China where it would flush out the air pollution.”
And go where? Perhaps they mean displaced to another part of the planet?

Reply to  chadb
March 16, 2017 8:15 am

Chadb, that was my take as well. The upside is that the pollution is staying where it was generated. These last two sentences were a riot:

“That gives China an incentive to not only follow through on air pollutant emission reductions, and also to look at the potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our research shows that cutting greenhouse gases would help with the winter haze problem.”

You don’t need a computer to know that if you cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, you will also cut down on particulates, NOx, SO2, and other pesky pollution elements. Presto, the haze will probably improve a lot. Don’t be surprised if it also gets WARMER with reduced albedo from clear skies.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  Stephen Rasey
March 17, 2017 5:40 am

I would say that their ‘research’ is incomplete. The ‘other things’ qualifying as pollution were to be reduced to zero (particularly black carbon and products of incomplete combustion, the amount of CO2 would go up, and the pollution total would drop, dramatically, if the technology is good.

So, my take is ‘What bunk is this?’ What the comment says is that there is no use cleaning up combustion at the power stations and factories and homes, just stop keeping warm. I rather suspect they will continue to improve their technologies and continue to emit CO2 as it helps food production.

March 16, 2017 4:32 am

Having just sat through a tedious programme on BBC Radio 4 on the PETM – where the claim was somehow – any ideas? – thousands of gigatons of CO2 and CH4 were released which….

caused the warming.

The narrative was clear: we must reduce our carbon…zzzz….

And now this headline. Is there anything that isn’t prompted by Arctic sea ice loss?

What I call Wadham’s syndrome

Reply to  f
March 16, 2017 4:36 am

f is for fretslider…

March 16, 2017 4:36 am

China’s ‘severe winter haze’ is a local and temporary phenomenon, as the name states. It is NOT climate.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  tadchem
March 16, 2017 6:54 am

Besides that, I found the missing winds here in Illinois.

March 16, 2017 4:43 am

“Modeling and data analysis suggests”… that’s some real science we can plug into our agenda.

March 16, 2017 4:56 am

Another nothing burger purchased by the US taxpayer.

Nashville Trump rally update. News reports estimate crowd size at 25 to 30 thousand of which about 9k were allowed into the venue. We stood in a thick line snaking around the municipal auditorium for an hour and a half. It was cold and windy.

When we arrived there was a separation at the back of the line with some going in one direction and some in the opposite direction. Niether line was moving much but I wondered where the other folks thought they were heading. Once our line started to move we made good progress to the entrance. Once at the entrance we were surprised to find barriers forcing us to go back around the large building eventually ending up back where we started. That was the back of that other line we saw on arrival. Aka the correct line. Hahaha

Trekked back to the car frozen and chastised by the slapstick nature of life. Watched the rally on youtube in a warm restaurant eating a tasty dinner and enjoying adult beverages. Disappointed in the protests as they were smaller than anticipated and less energetic than hoped. Much like dating at my age.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  troe
March 16, 2017 8:08 am

For accurate interpretation of data, your last sentence needs us to know if you are straight, gay, male, female, bi, lesbian, hermaphroditic, adult or juvenile, polygamous or anything else with unusual sexuel proclivities.
Otherwise a good chuckle.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
March 16, 2017 9:05 am

Hahaha… I think that last sentence is applicable to all “dating” situations. Glad you liked it.

Bruce Cobb
March 16, 2017 5:07 am

This is exactly the kind of “science” that should (hopefully) disappear under the Trump administration. “Science To Achieve Results”? Give me a break. It’s pure Lysenko science.

Patrick MJD
March 16, 2017 5:12 am

The result of exported “carbon” emissions (Jobs) from western industries. And you think the Chinese elite will care too much about air quality?

Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 16, 2017 5:52 am

The elites are the ones who care about air quality. The workers want jobs for a better life.

March 16, 2017 5:24 am

In other parts of the world this “winter haze” is called smog. And it is very likely directly related to the doubling of coal burning in China since 2000.

Reply to  Hans Erren
March 16, 2017 5:53 am

Or, possibly , not at all.

March 16, 2017 5:28 am

“The East China Plains …” whatever that is.

Beijing is ringed by mountains on three sides so its geography promotes smog in the same way as does the geography of Los Angeles.

… the same mountains that shielded Beijing from the Gobi steppes also form a semi-circular basin which catches the city’s air pollution.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  commieBob
March 17, 2017 5:51 am

It is also a humid place. A lot of what you see in photos is fog and ice fog. Remarkably clear the past two weeks.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
March 17, 2017 7:20 pm

Yes, number one son tells me that it’s spring there right now. Spring and fall aren’t bad for pollution.

re. the ice fog. Apparently the humidity makes the winter cold very uncomfortable.

March 16, 2017 5:43 am

to all those who asked me ‘so what is the effect of arctic sea ice loss?’ – well here’s another answer.

The decline in arctic sea ice has an impact on both climate and weather.

Reply to  Griff
March 16, 2017 5:55 am

Temporary climate or permanent weather?

Reply to  Griff
March 16, 2017 6:03 am

No, the decline in Arctic sea ice since the massive EXTREMES of 1979 has allowed the people up there to fish, travel by sea, and has had a massive commercial benefit.

But you don’t care about these massive BENEFITS , do you griff.

A tiny slow-down in Arctic sea ice, back slightly toward the norms of the pre-LIA era, is all you care about… not people or their well-being.

Reply to  Griff
March 16, 2017 6:04 am

Allegedly. Not proven. Regardless, if China would clean up their emissions it wouldn’t be a problem in the first place.

Pamela Gray
Reply to  Griff
March 16, 2017 6:09 am

Beware the confounding factor involved in Arctic sea ice loss. This may be the last phase of natural climate regime shifts. It has already been established that the ocean top layer of warm water naturally circulates towards the poles where it evaporates. With extensive sea ice present natural cooling may take a few round trips before enough reduction in sea ice allows for more evaporation. If this continues I can imagine a point in time when recharge can’t keep up with discharge. I wonder what will happen then?

Reply to  Pamela Gray
March 16, 2017 6:17 am

That should be the time to purchase good quality thermal underwear for those living in northerly latitudes.

Reply to  Griff
March 16, 2017 7:07 am

Consistently wrong, Grief.
Beijing winter haze dates back much further than the so-called “climate crisis”.

Reply to  Griff
March 16, 2017 7:51 am

Another answer you can give, is that it has killed your brain cells.
I understand that your very ‘identity’ as a person is on the line here. You probably can’t imagine existing without the crutch of CAGW to keep you going. Its very sad, but at least modern technology allows you to vent your frustrations on sites like this, it probably keeps you just about sane enough to keep your life together.
Hopefully , one day you may find another reason to lead a happy and fruitful life, until then, good luck.

Reply to  Griff
March 16, 2017 9:31 am

The decline that you’re looking at here. Is a decline in the pursuit of the scientific endeavour.

Robert Wille
March 16, 2017 5:47 am

Off topic anecdote: I attended a climate conference and went to the vendor hall and found that Anthony had set up a small table to have a presence there. The table was unoccupied, but I noticed a small backpacking style stove and some frozen precooked sausages and a few other foods. I thought I’d give Anthony a hand, and fired up the stove and heated up his food for him. When it was done, he was nowhere to be found, and it smelled so good that I ate it. I felt so guilty that I had eaten his food that I knew I needed to apologize to him, but I was so embarrassed and ashamed at what I had done I couldn’t bare to stick around until he returned. And then I woke up, and was so relieved. I thought the dream was so funny I never did get back to sleep.

Patrick PEAKE
March 16, 2017 5:55 am

Well it should start to reduce in 2030 or whenever China’s Paris commitment kicks in.

March 16, 2017 5:56 am

They have no evidence of what the actual air quality is, so they create a model of that.
Then they create a model to tell them why their modeled air quality is what it is.
Crikey, it’s models all the way down.

Reply to  MarkW
March 16, 2017 8:22 am

Crikey, it’s models all the way down.…. and all the way backward.

March 16, 2017 5:58 am

I’m sure there are dozens of scientists working on that as we speak.

March 16, 2017 6:06 am

A self identified candidate for federal budget cuts. GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Reply to  Flyoverbob
March 16, 2017 6:18 am

These guys were just waiting for J Curry to leave the department so they could run amok.

Reply to  Flyoverbob
March 16, 2017 11:54 am

I think they also misidentified the funding agency –
U.S. EPA Science To Achieve Results (STAR) Program
It should be –
U.S. EPA Science To Achieve Pre-Determined Papers (STAPP) Program

March 16, 2017 6:09 am

The whole article is bollocks. Another example of statistics misused. Principal component and covariance analysis have a very useful place in planned experiments- look up “design and analysis of experiments Fisher”, the seminal proponent of running experiments according to a properly designed series of experiments with controlled changes in particular variables. The whole process has proved extremely effective and useful across industry and science, even though you likely haven’t heard of it.
Using statistics to analyze a pile of raw data is simply another example of “correlation is not causation”. In this case the pollution has an obvious cause- China built hundreds of coal power plants and only recently started adding decent emissions controls to them. If you spew a lot of pollution the weather is likely to make in cause problems here and there. Los Angeles never had smog until it had over a million people stuffed into a geographic basin that had periodic temperature inversions that trapped all the pollution in the valley. Same thing here. Periodic weather changes can cause pollution to collect in particular areas.

No telecommunication by the weather is needed to make the association. There is no “effect”.

Reply to  philohippous
March 16, 2017 8:30 am

Was there any mention of the reduction in the residual?

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  philohippous
March 17, 2017 5:55 am

“Los Angeles never had smog until it had over a million people stuffed into a geographic basin that had periodic temperature inversions that trapped all the pollution in the valley.”

Actually the local natives had a name or the place that pretty much meant, “permanent smoke”. The ‘smog’ is a recent thing because of its composition, but it as always a trap for smoke plumes.

March 16, 2017 6:14 am

The positional change of the cold spot this year could be due to the stadium wave effect proposed by Curry and Wyatt.

March 16, 2017 6:26 am

I suggest they get their emissions down to levels reached in the UK and the West in the 50’s onwards following strict application of Clean Air Acts and Anti- Acid Rain regulations. Only then should they even think about investigating any other factors related to air pollution. This is primarily a particulate carbon, sulphates and NOX problem and not a CO2 one, and involves many other factors. Yet another “maybe” hypothesis distracting scientific resources away from far more important lines of climate research.

Alan the Brit
March 16, 2017 6:35 am

“first gained worldwide attention during the winter of 2013 when an instrument at the U.S. embassy recorded extremely high levels of PM 2.5 particles.”

Well, what more evidence does one need to accept that AGW is over, they’re onto the next “problem” as soon as they realised it was finished! Now they’re onto that great unkown killer with an equally unknown but wildly exaggerated body count. The eco-establishment have had this PM2.5 issue on the back-burner for a while now, simply because they need a veritable arsenal of “problems” as soon as the last looks done for. Classic left-wing tactics, as soon as they start losing their arguments they invent something else to beat us with!!!

March 16, 2017 6:41 am

“Emissions are no longer the only driver of these conditions.” –> emissions were never the only driver of air pollution in these “interconnected basins surrounded by mountain ranges to the west and the ocean to the east, a mirror image of the polluted Southern California. ” Geography and a propensity to inversion layers are the primary cause of trapping emissions in the valleys.

Just like Los Angeles has done over a twenty year period, reducing emissions to a low enough level will improve their situation.

Hoping to cure pollution problems in Beijing by focusing on global climate change is fruit-cakery.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 16, 2017 10:09 am

I smell a future demand that the West de-industrialize even faster so China’s air quality can improve.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
March 16, 2017 5:08 pm

Hawkins ==> I grew up in LA in the 50s and 60s — and boy did we have smog then, eye-stinging, lung choking smog — and there were a lot fewer cars then. The efforts to reduce automobile exhaust pollution greatly improved things — but the inversion layer still forms and keeps some smog around when ythe lid is clapped down too long.

China has horrid air pollution because it pollutes the air –m not because the climate is changing.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 17, 2017 5:57 am

The majority of bad air in Beijing comes from Hebei, the province that surrounds it. The Feds in Beijing have given Hebei 2 years to reduce their PM2.5 average 25%, starting early last year.

M Courtney
March 16, 2017 6:42 am

The problem in China is to distinguish bewteen the effects of their rapid industriaisation and the dust that’s akways blown of the Takla Makan.

Sort out that and then we can discuss changes in the climate.

Brett Keane
Reply to  M Courtney
March 16, 2017 1:03 pm

Yes, MC! At last someone who knows the elephant in the room.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  M Courtney
March 17, 2017 6:03 am


A lot of the PM2.5 (actually PM0.1-PM 1.0 if you look closely) is cause by the inefficiency of the combustion of domestic coal-fired water heating and cooking equipment. This is something that is very easy to fix, and that is happening. The early solution implemented was to convert the fuel to semi-coked briquettes of different sizes and subsidise it, pls ban raw coal.

The misdirection about this is that coal is not in itself ‘smoky’. The devices used to burn it are. With the replacement of the old-fashioned burners with modern ones, the smoke reduction is over 99%. This punts a hole through the ‘smoky fuels’ concept, something still taught in European universities, to my surprise.

The very best available products clean the air as they burn coal, producing nothing at all except CO2, water vapour and SO2 according to the level in the coal (presuming it has not been treated).

feed berple
March 16, 2017 6:45 am

The reason the haze persists is because no one obeys the regulations. Pollution is only being reduced on paper. Everyone says they have reduced but in fact they only use pollution controls when the inspectors are looking.

feed berple
Reply to  feed berple
March 16, 2017 6:56 am

We were in Beijing spring the asean conference. Clear blue skies because the government ordered all the factories closed. The joke in China was that this shade of blue was called asean blue.

March 16, 2017 6:48 am

Isn’t this more appropriate for state run media content?

Stan Williams
March 16, 2017 7:07 am

When Beijing hosted the 2008 summer olympics, the skies were amazingly clear and blue. Why? It wasn’t climate change. They shut down the factories for two weeks. It would be nice if these “scientists” would apply simple tests to check if their theories hold easily observable scrutiny instead of being, well, hot air.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  Stan Williams
March 17, 2017 6:08 am

I am in Beijing a lot at different times of the year. There are lots of clear air days. There is also a lot of early morning fog that looks like smog. The same as many other cities. The max PM numbers these days are FAR better than many other cites. Beijing is a whipping boy for media people who don’t want to bother to leave town. Food is too good. Or laziness.

There is lots of pollution in China, but air pollution in Beijing is somehow the go-to telephoto shot when they media want to shut down the power generation system.

Patrick B
March 16, 2017 7:12 am

So if the model is reliable, did they publish a firm prediction of winter weather around the world for the next 5 years? You know, something both useful and that can be scientifically confirmed? Create a model, predict, check results within a meaningful error boundary – you know, science.

Reply to  Patrick B
March 16, 2017 7:28 am


John F. Hultquist
March 16, 2017 7:20 am

The Londontown Clothing Company was founded in 1923.
In 1938, and known as “London Fog”, the Company made waterproof coats for the U. S. Navy.

Okay, that isn’t the sort of fog to be explained. Try this one:

The Great Smog of 1952

March 16, 2017 7:25 am

Clean air and not coincidental nuclear advocate Senator Lamar Alexander’s reaction to Climategate “more research” There’s gold in them there grants. Expanding the scope of knowledge is good. Even when what we learn is that we are wasting our money. In the US we are attempting to apply lessons learned. Its causing alot of anxiety.

March 16, 2017 7:28 am

Hit and run science is the new norm.

Curious George
March 16, 2017 7:59 am

China should rely exclusively on wind and solar, effective immediately.

EarthGround Media presents
March 16, 2017 8:02 am

We used to blow smoke up people’s arses to revive them from drowning. We have come a long way in science…

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  EarthGround Media presents
March 17, 2017 6:09 am

Now we blow it in their ears.

March 16, 2017 8:07 am

Now we have another reason Judith Curry retired from Geogia Tech. So as not to be embarssed by such drivel.

March 16, 2017 8:09 am

Cosmic rays.

March 16, 2017 8:16 am

There are far more likely causes of the smog.

The only ‘climate’ related one would increased industrialization to feed the false fear of CO2 driven climate change by providing solar cells and rare earth magnets for hybrid/electric cars and windmills.

The most likely cause is a rapid increase in truck and automobile traffic. There were no emission standards in China for trucks and autos until the 90’s, so there are still a lot of old engines without pollution controls in use.

Berényi Péter
March 16, 2017 8:22 am

Yep. The Great Smog of London, which claimed some 12,000 lives in 1952, was caused by a period of cold weather, combined with an anticyclone and windless conditions. The Clean Air Act of 1956 had nothing to do with the cleanup, ’cause it was climate wut dun it.

Steve Oregon
March 16, 2017 8:57 am

In this malleable world where I may or may not be a male, depending on how I feel, all things may or may not be.

To may, or not to may, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous forecasts,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of data,
And by opposing end them: to it die, to be funded
No more; and by mass firings, to say we end
the make-believe, and the thousand human shocks
that weather was said heir to?

March 16, 2017 9:01 am

In China they burn brown coal in the numerous power plants, which also do not have baghouse filters for the stacks, and they have denuded millions of acres of land by clearcutting for firewood. Hence, they have a lot of particulate matter in the air: SO2, soot, and dust. They need the electricity, but they also need filtration for the coal power plants, no more brown coal burning, and plant some trees.

China is a different sort of place. Almost no landscaping, construction debris is still there 30 years after the building is finished, and lots and lots of areas have no wildlife whatsoever, no squirrels, no birds, no butterflies. Environmentally an ongoing disaster, just recently attempts to clean up parts of it have begun. Also incredibly bad and dangerous traffic, lots of wicked accidents, and fools trying to cross superhighways on foot. Strange…

Reply to  Michael Moon
March 16, 2017 9:03 am

Oh and I forgot, a few million Diesel trucks and buses with no filters, belching huge clouds of black soot laden with Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon carcinogens…

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  Michael Moon
March 17, 2017 6:11 am

M Moon

50% of the PM 2.5 in the air of Beijing is from the farms surround the city. That is from measurements, not speculation.

March 16, 2017 9:16 am

Ridiculous. This is the same type of winter pollution that St. Louis, Pittsburgh and London used to have. It was largely cleaned up by the US cities before the EPA was founded.

Keen Observer
March 16, 2017 9:17 am

So, if I understand correctly, they’re saying that it’s not the fault of pollution that the skies of China are polluted, it’s the fault of the wind not blowing it out to sea? Is this their way to get around having to increase pollution controls to improve the actual environment?

March 16, 2017 9:45 am

So they are saying that it is our fault that there isn’t more wind to blow the pollution away. I guess we should (do what?) so that the wind increases, blowing the pollution… where? Here? No thanks.

March 16, 2017 10:46 am

Looks like Dr. Curry got out of there just in time. Tune in next year for: “Scientists at GA Tech link Chinese Air Pollution to Changes in Phlogiston Circulation and Climate Induced Leech Shortage”

March 16, 2017 3:33 pm

China’s City pollution is closely related to very rapidly increasing numbers of cars and diesel trucks and buses on the roads, not some imagined changes in Climate caused or not caused by CO2. But there’s no funding from that for CAGW.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  ntesdorf
March 17, 2017 6:15 am


“…very rapidly increasing numbers of cars…”

No it’s not. It is related to the placing of coal on top of existing fires. This practise has to die. It is not how to burn coal, it is how to burn wood. Domestic fires are a major source of all air pollution in Asia. As technologies are replaced, this practice will also disappear. Anyone who wants to see how this is done properly should come to the Stove expo in Langfang 17 April where new, vastly cleaner combustion technologies are on display (annually).

Vehicles are become a major portion of a far smaller total load. They are not the cause of an increase because the total is decreasing, not increasing.

John in Oz
March 16, 2017 5:33 pm

I seem to recall that there was a theory/hypothesis that China’s pollution was the CAUSE of arctic ice loss. For example:

Is this another chicken and egg moment?

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  John in Oz
March 17, 2017 3:52 am

The squawk of Chicken Little arising from the egg of opportunity?
I think so.

They also used to said the CO2 from power stations was causing warming and when it didn’t warm, they blamed the sulphates from the same combustion for causing a ‘masking cooling effect’. The warning came in to the effect that cleaning up the combustion would cause the CO2 effect to appear as if by magic.

Don’t hold your breath.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
March 17, 2017 3:46 am

Dose of reality:

Taiyuan was, 15 years ago, the second most polluted city in China, and that is saying something. Now it is far better. Showing one photo from some day in December (there are more domestic stove ignitions in early winter than mid-winter because it is not all that cold) instead of a chart of daily PM levels per 3 hrs or 30 minutes meaning nothing.

The US embassy has a PM monitor in Beijing, but that is not showing ‘worse’ conditions, it is getting better and better. This winter had abnormally low winds. There is no proof that it is ‘linked to global warming’ in a country without any meaningful change in a couple of decades. The ‘sea ice’ ‘snowfall’ claim requires one to push the BS Button. What tripe.

Let’s take another city in the region: Ulaanbaatar where there are long term measurements and which are tweeted every 30 minutes Since 2011 the air pollution (PM2.5) has dropped 65% to the level reached in 2015. It then improved a little to last winter, and this winter currently finishing, it is worse than the year before. The reason for that are three: the increasing number of low pressure boilers (hydronic heater) being installed in settled people’s housing, the sale of highly improved coal stoves to people living out side the city, and abnormally low winds, as happens from time to time.

I note there is no mention of the abnormally low temperatures over northern Asia this October-November – twenty degrees C below normal! No doubt that too was caused by global warming and a lack of sea ice.

The air in Beijing is far better than it was. I was there a few days ago and enjoyed a string of clear sunny days. Picking Taiyuan City as an example of anything other than what a coal mining district looks like is a lie of convenience. They can’t dare show cotemporary Beijing because the air is so clean. There is an on-going Hebei Clean Air Project (Hebei surrounds Beijing and is responsible for most of Beijing’s pollution) with 51 measures being taken to improve their air (which drifts into Beijing) including replacing boilers, removing old vehicles, putting in electric buses, changing production technologies and replacing 800,000 farmer’s heating stoves with models at least 60% cleaner than the not-all-that-bad baseline heaters. Most are >90% cleaner. These measures ($500m) indicate serious action on improving the entire environment.

Belly-aching about Beijing air is so ‘yesterday’. Living in 300 micrograms of PM2.5/m^3 gives the same exposure as smoking 1/5th of a cigarette per day. Testing by Dr Talent of the COPD office in Kyrgyzstan a few weeks ago measured smoke exposures indoors as high as 6000, or the equivalent exposure of smoking 4 cigarettes a day (for adults breathing 30 cu m a day).

As CAGW and CFC’s go dark, the new alarum is ‘health’ and PM2.5, Global Burden of Disease GBD and Burden of Disease BoD modeling with numbers as fantastical and as ‘well grounded’ as mainstream ‘climate science’.

March 17, 2017 9:25 am

“The reductions in sea ice and increase in snowfall have the effect of damping the climatological pressure ridge structure over China,” Wang said. “That flattens the temperature and pressure gradients and moves the East Asian Winter Monsoon to the east, decreasing wind speeds and creating an atmospheric circulation that makes the air in China more stagnant.”

The reason pollution remains near the ground in winter is linked to high pressure anticyclones. Every event of pollution in Europe this winter was related to such circumstances. A Monsoon is when trades are crossing the geographical equator, so in boreal winter there is no chance to have a “monsoon” over northern hemisphere, it is a “contresens”.
So stronger anticyclones pushing at their edges more moist air back to the pole, hence more snow up there is what to expect in a cooling environment. So indeed this changing climate has been on since the climatic shift of the 1970s.
Those modeling artists have no clue of how weather forms.

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