Blue Haze Appearing Over Heavily Forested Areas May Cause Climate Problems

COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Oct. 8 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say the blue haze often appearing over heavily forested areas around the world might affect weather conditions and cause climate problems.

Researchers led by Texas A&M University Professor Renyi Zhang said the haze is formed by natural emissions of chemicals, but human activities can worsen it to the point of its becoming problematic.

Zhang, said the blue haze consists of tiny particles or aerosols suspended in the air and it can be negatively affected by human activities, mainly fossil fuel burning and construction of large power plants that emit huge amounts of particles into the air.

“The study shows that the natural way of blue haze formation is rather inefficient and that human activities make blue haze conditions worse,” he said. “What happens is that a mix of natural and man-made chemicals speeds up the formation of these particles in the Earth’s atmosphere, and there they reflect sunlight back into space. The results can affect cloud formations and, ultimately, much of the world’s climate.

“Weather patterns can be affected worldwide and the blue haze can worsen the breathing problems of many people, such as those who suffer from asthma or emphysema,” he added.

The study that included researchers from the Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Molina Center for Energy and Environment and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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