Dust from the Gobi Desert clouds Owens Valley

gobidesertWhy has our air looked so hazy since last Friday? It was made in China, you might say, and blown across the globe to California.

Hard to believe, but Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District Director Ted Schade confirmed it. NASA documented by satellite the Gobi Desert phenomenon. Schade said that in the Spring sometimes a really fast jet stream moves over Asia, to the north and over to Alaska. Then it blows right down over California. What many here thought must be smoke from a fire is, in fact, dust from Asia.

Great Basin’s Air Blog said, “Long-range transport from a massive dust event last week in the Gobi Desert has followed atmospheric streamlines to arrive in the Owens Valley today.” That was on Friday. NASA’s article on this event said dust from the Gobi Desert blew across the coastal plain of eastern China. Beijing has experienced two dust events in March.

Ted Schade said this kind of event happens once every couple of years. He said the jet stream creates a kind of blanket effect in California from the dust on the other side of the world.

The Gobi Desert is considered the fifth largest desert in the world and the largest in Asia. It covers 500,000 square miles.

 

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12 Responses to Dust from the Gobi Desert clouds Owens Valley

  1. Tim March 25, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Does this mean that air polution or a nuclear disaster in China could also blanket California in fallout courtesy of the jet stream? How will this impact the EPA stove upgrade program or antique can and bottle collection enforcement by BLM?

     
    • Tim March 26, 2013 at 10:38 am #

      C’mon you guys, that stuff I said is cynical and sarcastic, where’s your valley spirit? Where is your sense of humor?
      Truth be known, I really like the article, it clearly implies that our problems (Shooting area trash, bottle collectors, stove upgrades), while significant, can easily be shadowed by global concerns. From my understanding China is a huge unbridled polluter; doesn’t it stand to reason that if the jet stream carries visible particulate matter around the globe that it could just as easily carry other types of pollution? Manufacturing such as foundry and metals fabrication and chemical or plastics processing can be huge toxic air polluters. What about China’s nuclear plants? As of 2012, the People’s Republic of China has 16 nuclear power reactors spread out over 4 separate sites and 26 under construction!
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_China
      Nuclear disasters caused by earthquake across the globe that effect California do happen.
      http://www.enviroreporter.com/
      So what to do? Shoot at trash, ride ole Sarah the mule, get a free stove, leave some ole’ trash in the desert for ambiance. These are probably not bad ideas, all we have is today. Enjoy it.
      In the end I am afraid the score will be human progress (0), mother nature (1).

       
      • communicating electronically March 26, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

        Tim,
        What I’ve found to be useful in email correspondence is to indicate somehow that the comment was cynical and/or sarcastic:

        ; > wink

        Otherwise, everythink resembles the Tower of Babel story and/or The Rush Limbaugh Show

         
        • Tim ; > wink March 26, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

          Sounds good.

           
          • Jeremiah's ego March 28, 2013 at 11:22 am #

            Sarcasm is hard to pinpoint in text, also depending on the readers state of mind at the time the text might not be perceived as sarcasm, and most of the time the reaction to that mis-interpretative punch line is of course associated with the act of “Foaming At The Mouth”. LOL

             
  2. Wayne Deja March 25, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    Made in China ??…..Uh-oh……Some are gonna blame President Obama for it…..

     
  3. Marie Boyd March 26, 2013 at 6:53 am #

    Well Benett – everything else is made in China, why not the haze?

     
  4. Philip Anaya March 26, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    Assuming that LADWP had done it again was not too smart or logical on my part. The drive back to Bishop from Lost Angeles is usually better and better with each mile north but Friday was an exception.
    The winds were not blowing and the Owens Dry Lake was calm. There was the newly prescribed burn north of Indy and the haze seemed to thicken to the north. I was wondering hard how the LADWP could allow and cause such pollution. Now I’m wondering how to temper my own distrust and anger and not get caught up in the blame game that I play oh so easily. Meanwhile what’s stopping DWP with the Great Basin APCD from figuring out what they need to do to go forward with fixing up the Owens Lake project?

     
  5. Mike Prather, Lone Pine March 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    UCSD/Scripps was part of a paper just published in Science showing dust and microbials from Africa as well as Asia.

    http://atofms.ucsd.edu

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2013/02/27/science.1227279.abstract

     
  6. Jeremiah's ego March 28, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    Yeah we can blame China for burning so much coal, but they are only catching up and taking the lead to the trend we started.
    It’s too bad the legalized bribery that goes on systematically in our country is keeping the American People down from setting the trends (Green Energy) that reflect we do care about the generations after us.

     

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