Question: How far do pollutants from one place travel? Can we detect pollutants from far away places in our air here? – S.S., Seattle, WA
Answer: Some atmospheric gases and particles can travel over long distances, making air quality an international issue. Dust from dust storms in Africa and China regularly reaches the Western Hemisphere, and there is evidence that the long-range transport of pollution from Asia is raising the background levels of pollutants on the West Coast of the US. INTEX was a recent major collaborative NASA science campaign to study the intercontinental
transport of atmospheric pollutants.