« Showers today, but weekend still looks great | Main | Weather looks good for tonight's meteor shower »

August 7, 2008

Chinese air pollution: Getting better?

AP PhotoThe pictures and videos from the Beijing Olympic village are appalling. The thick smog and frighteningly short visibilities can only hint at what it must be like to breathe that air - much less compete in it at world-class levels. Four American athletes arriving at the airport with air-filters over their mouths and noses took a lot of heat for the perceived insult to their host country. But it probably wasn't a bad idea.

The Weather Channel website has an interesting page on Olympic weather and air conditions.

With the coal-burning Chinese economy on an astonishing roll, and their huge, urbanizing population eager to adopt a U.S.-style motorized existence, it would seem like there is little or nothing we could expect but continuing degradation of the Chinese environment.

And it's not bad for the Chinese alone. That air pollution degrades the air for the entire entire planet. Much of it can actually be traced as it drifts across the Pacific and into U.S. airspace.

That said, I've run across an essay today that seems to suggest that the situation in China has actually gotten better in recent years. And they write of a dynamic in national economies that seems to bring about environmental improvements as a country's collective wealth grows. Something called the Kuznets Curve.

Wouldn't that be nice?  Have a look.  It's a long read, but fascinating. Does this make sense to you?

Posted by Frank Roylance at 3:58 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Air quality

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

Sign up for FREE weather alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for weather text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Maryland Weather Center

Area Weather Stations
Resources and Sun coverage
• Weather news

• Readers' photos

• Data from the The Sun's weather station

• 2011 stargazers' calendar

• Become a backyard astronomer in five simple steps

• Baltimore Weather Archive
Daily airport weather data for Baltimore from 1948 to today

• National Weather Service:
Sterling Forecast Office

• Capital Weather Gang:
Washington Post weather blog

• CoCoRaHS:
Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. Local observations by volunteers

• Weather Bug:
Webcams across the state

• National Data Buoy Center:
Weather and ocean data from bay and ocean buoys

• U.S. Drought Monitor:
Weekly maps of drought conditions in the U.S.

• USGS Earthquake Hazards Program:
Real-time data on earthquakes

• Water data:
From the USGS, Maryland

• National Hurricane Center

• Air Now:
Government site for air quality information

• NWS Climate Prediction Center:
Long-term and seasonal forecasts

• U.S. Climate at a Glance:
NOAA interactive site for past climate data, national, state and city

• Clear Sky Clock:
Clear sky alerts for stargazers


• Hubblesite:
Home page for Hubble Space Telescope

• Heavens Above:
Everything for the backyard stargazer, tailored to your location

• NASA Eclipse Home Page:
Centuries of eclipse predictions

• Cruise Critic: Hurricane Zone:
Check to see how hurricanes may affect your cruise schedule

• Warming World:
NASA explains the science of climate change with articles, videos, “data visualizations,” and space-based imagery.

• What on Earth:
NASA blog on current research at the space agency.
Most Recent Comments
Blog updates
Recent updates to news blogs
 Subscribe to this feed
Charm City Current
Stay connected