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Atmospheric Sciences & Global Change
Newsmakers

May 2017

BBC Quoted Yang about Research on Dust-Wind Interactions in China

Dr. Yang Yang, an atmospheric scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, was quoted by the British Broadcasting Corporation about his research on dust and air pollution in China.

Yang was the lead author of a paper published by Nature Communications in which scientists found that dust promotes winds to sweep out manmade pollution. Without dust, the air doesn't move, so the pollution hangs around and builds up.

Yang told the BBC that two dust sources factor into the pollution in eastern China—the Gobi Desert in northern China and southern Mongolia, and the highlands of northwest China—but scientists found that the Gobi had a much larger influence.

"Less dust in the atmosphere causes more solar radiation to reach the surface," Yang said. "It weakens the temperature difference between the land and the sea, and impacts the circulation of the winds and causes a stagnation over eastern China, and that causes an accumulation of air pollution."

Research showed that, during the winter, reduced dust levels led to a 13 percent increase in human-caused pollution over eastern China.

The article quoted one of the paper's co-authors, Lynn M. Russell of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. PNNL researchers Sijia Lou, Ying Liu, Balwinder Singh, and Steven J. Ghan also collaborated on the research.

Yang, who joined PNNL in April 2016, got his PhD from the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Atmospheric Physics in 2014. His thesis was on the simulation of air quality-climate interactions in China. His research interests include the chemistry, movement, and deposition of gases and atmospheric particles; extreme haze events; and the role of weather on regional air quality.


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