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Rising Air Pollution Worsens Drought, Flooding, New Study Finds
ScienceDaily (Nov. 13, 2011) — Increases in air pollution and other particulate matter in the atmosphere can strongly affect cloud development in ways that reduce precipitation in dry regions or seasons, while increasing rain, snowfall and the intensity of severe storms in wet regions or seasons, says a new study by a University of Maryland-led team of researchers.
The study found that under very dirty conditions, the mean cloud height of deep convective clouds is more than twice the mean height under crystal clean air conditions. "The probability of heavy rain is virtually doubled from clean to dirty conditions, while the chance of light rain is reduced by 50 percent," says Maryland's Li, who is also affiliated with Beijing Normal University.
No safe level of particulate matter has been found safe to human health, which is why particulates should be reduced as much as reasonably possible.
A systematic review of the relation between long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and chronic diseases. ….long-term exposure… increases the risk of nonaccidental mortality… independent of age, gender, and geographic region…
The effects of outdoor air pollution on chronic illnesses
Chronic diseases, especially cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory diseases, are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. ….Chronic diseases develop typically over long periods of time and have multiple risk factors. ….ambient air pollution has been implicated in increasing the incidence and mortality from lung cancer and from cardio-pulmonary diseases
…the confluence of adverse weather conditions and extremely high levels of pollution from ambient particles and sulphur dioxide can cause immediate and dramatic increases in mortality. ….short-term elevations of ambient air pollution cause a variety of acute health events, especially in certain subgroups of the population, such as the elderly, children, and those who are impaired physiologically (e.g., congestive heart failure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease)
….Chronic health effects from exposure to urban air pollution have thus been estimated to account for almost 60% of the total environmentally-related health effects, exceeding the effects from other environmental risk factors, such as environmental tobacco smoking and lead contamination in drinking water (68).
Air pollution does not recognize national boundaries and it may be transported over distances of thousands miles (20). Even at its current level, air pollution threatens the health of entire populations. Air pollution is a growing, global problem. Yet approaches to controlling air pollution have not been up to the task. The overall evidence from the past and present epidemiological studies strongly supports tighter standards for air pollution, especially particulate pollutants, in Canada and in other countries.