A new report, published in Nature Communications, reveals that the ever-increasing air pollution from China and other Asian industrial countries is capable of increasing the power of winter cyclones in the northwest Pacific. The study shows that rising levels of pollution from China, Korea and Japan produce stronger winds and more rain, resulting in more devastating cyclones at increased frequencies during the winter months.
“The dusty fallout affects how moisture develops in clouds and how heat is distributed in storm systems”, said Yuan Wang of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. “The significant change of the Pacific storm intensity was estimated to start in the middle of the 1990s.”
“(This was) when industrial plants, power plants and automobiles produced huge amounts of air pollutants, along with the booming economy, in many Asian countries like China.”
The research, found in the latest issue of Nature Communications, is the latest evidence that the particles caused from burning fossil fuels can intensify climate change. In the case of Asian cyclones, the clouds (influenced by pollutants) can carry as much as four times more droplets, leading to a roughly 7% increase in rainfall.
Another side effect is the creation of brighter high-altitude cirrus or “anvil” clouds, which in turn can warm the sea surface, providing heat to fuel cyclones.
Research is currently on-going to consider the effect of aerosols on clouds. Currently, the research from Seoul National University in South Korea has returned highly variable findings and is one of the biggest areas of uncertainty in climate science.
Images NASA Goddard Photo and Video