A number of extreme weather events, from cold snaps to storms, have hit the US in recent years -- and though climate change is the usual suspect, NASA physicists believe there's another source of trouble.
Pollution in China may be playing a hand in the elements' odd behaviors.
Johnathan Jiang, who works at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told NPR, "Over the past 30 years or so, man-made emission centers have shifted from traditional industrialized countries to fast, developing countries in Asia."
The particles produced there rise into the atmosphere and get picked up by the jet stream.
Once globally airborne, they can impact cloud development and storm systems.
Among the most significant that are intensified by the pollutants are those that hover around the North Pacific.
Those, in turn, could well be influencing the movements of the polar jet stream across the US, which as its name implies, carries cold and sometimes unbearable weather around.
Though the researchers haven't determined the full extent of such activity, they have made a link between its history and that of industrialization in Asia.
The events coincide with the boom in coal-fueled enterprises operating on the continent.
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