Gallery: Air Pollution Causing Stronger Cyclones in the Middle East and...

Image acquired February 19, 2010: Tropical Cyclone Gelane had sustained winds of 125 knots (230 kilometers per hour) and gusts up to 150 knots (275 kilometers per hour), according to a report from the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) on February 19, 2010. The JTWC reported that Gelane was roughly 315 nautical miles (585 kilometers) east-northeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, and was forecast to travel toward the southwest, weakening slightly as it moved. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on February 19, 2010. Gelane’s spiral arms span hundreds of kilometers over the open ocean. Credit: NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott. Instrument:  Aqua - MODIS For more details and a higher res file of this image go to:

In recent years, the Middle East and South Asia have been hit by several very destructive storms. While the region is often beset by such occurrences, a new study believes that air pollution caused by soot and aerosol emissions in developing countries is making cyclones much more destructive. The study, that was published in Nature magazine last week, stated that emissions caused by burning fossil fuels ‘interfere’ with wind patterns and, as a result, reduces wind shear. This allows cyclones to grow in size and become more destructive, when wind shear would normally ‘tear them apart’ when they reach a certain size.

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