Science News

Air pollution in China may have caused millions of deaths since 2000

Shenyang, Liaoning province, in 2014

JACKY CHEN/REUTERS

Air pollution in China and Taiwan is estimated to have resulted in the premature deaths of 30.8 million adults since 2000.

Yang Liu at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and his colleagues used satellite imagery to quantify the amount of air pollution over mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan between 2000 and 2016. The team used imagery taken by NASA satellites to estimate the concentrations of PM2.5 – particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter.

One measurement the satellite takes is the amount of sunlight that has been scattered or absorbed by …

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