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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Pollution Leaving China Mountains High and Dry, Study Finds

Posted by Author on March 8, 2007

Anne Minard, for National Geographic News, DC, USA, March 8, 2007-

Air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels in China is depriving nearby hills and mountains of rain and snow.

That’s the finding of a new study led by Daniel Rosenfeld, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Jerusalem’s Institute of Earth Sciences, in this week’s issue of the journal Science.

To research the effects of pollution on high-altitude areas, Rosenfeld and his colleagues combined records of visibility, precipitation, and tiny pollution particles in the air—known as aerosols—on Mount Hua, near Xi’an in central China.

The results showed that the aerosols are causing clouds to withhold their moisture in hilly regions.

The findings explain the 10 to 25 percent drop in rainfall that has occurred at higher altitudes downwind of cities compared to lowland areas, the team said.

Aerosols are competing to attract the limited moisture in clouds, which reduces the size of water droplets, Rosenfeld explained. Smaller droplets in turn take more time to combine to form raindrops.

“It creates short-lived clouds,” he said. “You don’t have enough time for rain to fall before they get to the downwind side of the hills.”

Worldwide Phenomenon

Scientists have long suspected a connection between pollution and decreased rainfall in many parts of the world.

But there no solid proof until Rosenfeld hit upon a scientific gold mine in China: records of visibility going back 50 years.

Using that data, his team has made a direct connection between aerosols and rainfall on a local scale that’s been missing from observations in other parts of the world.

“It’s an important story,” said William Woodley, who has been documenting the same effect in the Sierra Nevada mountain range downwind of San Francisco, California, for the California Energy Commission.

“[The new study is] corroborating and buttressing what we’ve been doing in California.”

While some governments have taken steps to limit so-called large-particle emissions, research by Rosenfeld, Woodley, and others is showing that even small particles like aerosols can affect weather both on local and global scales.

Earlier this week, a separate study linked Asian pollution with an increase in storm severity in the Pacific and—perhaps more importantly—changes in global air and heat circulation that may be linked to warming in the polar regions.

(Read the story: “Asia Pollution Changing World’s Weather, Scientists Say” [March 6, 2007].)

Rosenfeld says all of the new studies represent a growing awareness of the effects of human activity on the global climate.

“Here we see there is much more than temperature change and rising sea levels,” he said.

“By polluting the air and clouds we are likely changing our weather patterns and water resources.”

Related:
North America Weather Affected by China and India Air Pollution, Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2007

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