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Air pollution over Asian countries strengthened Pacific storms: PNAS Study

Apr 16, 2014 15:30 IST

A study tittled Assessing the effects of anthropogenic aerosols on Pacific storm track using a multiscale global climate model was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in the US. The lead author of the study was Yuan wang

The study identified a link between increased pollution in Asian countries and changes in weather systems over the Pacific Ocean.  

The study noted that air pollution in China and other Asian countries is having far-reaching impacts on weather patterns across the Northern Hemisphere.

imageScientists had utilized the comprehensive emission data gathered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and examined two scenarios: one for an air pollution rate in the pre-Industrial era 1850 and one from 2000.

The scientists discovered that man-made aerosols conclusively impact cloud formations and mid-latitude cyclones linked with the Pacific storm track. This caused clouds to grow denser, resulting in more intense storms above the ocean.

The aerosols formed by human activities from fast-growing Asian economies do impact storm formation and global air circulation downstream. The particles tend to make storms deeper and stronger and more intense, and these storms also have more precipitation in them.

The study identifies the most common aerosols as sulfates which predominately come from coal-fired power plants. Other pollutant particles released by vehicle emissions were also detected. Once in the atmosphere these particles reflect and absorb sunlight and can have both a cooling and warming effect on climate zones.

Aerosols over the North Atlantic effect storms over the North Atlantic, and aerosols in the monsoon region over South Asia can affect circulation around the whole of the world.

The Pacific storm track transports heat and moisture. The transfer of heat and moisture seems to be elevated over the storm track downstream, signifying that the Pacific storm track has strengthened because of the Asian air pollution outflow.

China is leading in terms of development in Asia which resulted into the highest air pollution. Northern cities of China are the leading polluted cities as most of the power plants and steel manufacturing plants are located in the north of China. The study reported that air quality standards were only met on 48 days in 2013 in Beijing.

About aerosol

An aerosol is a colloid of fine solid particles or liquid droplets, in air or another gas. Examples of aerosols include haze, dust, particulate air pollutants and smoke.

Is this article important for exams ? Yes19 People Agreed
Read more Current Affairs on: Air pollution , strengthened Pacific storms , study published

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