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Air pollution

Smog fuels storms

Sascha Rentzing, 30 Apr 14
Heavy air pollution in large Asian cities will do long-term damage to the climate. A more immediate problem, however, is that the dirt seems to be exacerbating storms over the Pacific Ocean a new research has found.

This is according to a report that scientists at Texas A&M University published in the US journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They say that their climate models showed clear differences between the weather now and in pre-industrial times. Fine particles of dirt are traveling from large Asian cities towards the North Pacific, where they combine with water in the air and cause thicker clouds and heavier storms.

The scientists warn that, because Pacific storm tracks play an important role in global circulation, air pollution in Asia could also affect the weather in other regions of the Earth. However, Mojib Latif, a climate researcher at the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, does not believe the Texan scientists are necessarily right: “Of course we can’t rule out changes in circulation, but we don’t know very much about how aerosols affect cloud formation.”

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