MOUNT TAMALPAIS (CBS SF) — As China issued its first ever red health alert due to severe smog, scientists are studying just how much of that pollution makes its way across the Pacific for us to breathe in the Bay Area.
Scientists have long known that pollution and dust from China does travel over to the western United States, but current levels there have officials in the Bay Area worried.
“The levels they’re seeing in Beijing, we don’t see even near wildfires,” Eric Stevenson of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said.
A team of UC Berkeley geochemists have developed a method for tracing fine airborne particulate pollution traveling west from China, and the air management district has pollution level monitors on Mount Tamalpais.
Stevenson says that as bad as it is in China, most of that won’t make its way to the states.
“By the time that air mass gets to us, it has been very diluted,” Stevenson said.
Meanwhile, actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger met with China’s chief climate negotiator at the climate talks in Paris.