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How climate change affects air quality

People often think climate change and global warming are the same thing. While these phenomena are different things, it’s not surprising that the terms get used interchangeably because there’s interdependence between the two. So how do they work together to impact air quality?


The greenhouse effect

Global warming started during the Industrial Revolution when manufacturing began to burn fossil fuels and create air pollution. As factories—and later cars and more—emitted toxic fumes, the gases became trapped in the earth’s atmosphere. This led to the “greenhouse effect.” The sun warmed Earth as always, but now it was also warming the trapped gases, which in turn radiate heat back down to the surface.


The greenhouse gases created a seal around the planet. Everything under this seal began to warm up. The increased global temperature then led to severe weather events and, eventually, to the acknowledgement that the planet’s entire climate is changing.


Cycle: air pollution, global warming and climate change

This became a dangerous cycle that is still in effect: Air pollution leads to higher global temperatures. The increased temperatures exacerbate climate change. Then climate change intensifies some types of air pollution. The ongoing cycle causes both the climate and air quality to deteriorate.


Climate change brings more mold and pollen

After the problem of intensified air pollution, climate change also impacts air quality through more extreme weather, like flooding and other events. Increased flooding results in higher levels of mold in people’s homes. Also, rising temperatures, in both the oceans and on land, create warmer air. In tough news for allergy sufferers, warmer air produces more pollen.


Together people can change direction

In the video, Air Quality: A Tale of Three Cities, Dr. Bryan N. Duncan, a NASA scientist, reviews the history of air quality in Beijing, Los Angeles and Atlanta. It’s a fascinating story that offers some good reasons to be optimistic.


In the case of Los Angeles, for instance, some forms of air pollution have actually decreased in recent decades. Dr. Duncan cites the government’s requirement to install catalytic converters in all automobiles as one of the technologies that made cleaner air possible. Indeed, a car today is approximately twenty times less polluting than a car that rolled off the assembly line in 1960. For the car culture of Los Angeles, this proved to be air changing.


Protect your air

While the global community will determine the quality of air we all share, the Coway Airmega air purifier can remove up to 99.97 percent of particles measuring as small as 0.3 microns in your home. These particles include pollen, pollutants and other allergens that cause irritation. Please note that the percentage of particle removal is based on the True HEPA filter standard. The exact level of removal depends on indoor air quality and the operation of the individual unit.