Air Pollution Over Asia Makes Pacific Storms More Intense


April 15, 2014
Earth, Energy & Environment

In the first study of its kind, scientists have compared air pollution rates from 1850 to 2000 and found that anthropogenic (man-made) particles from Asia impact the Pacific storm track that can influence weather over much of the world.

The team, which includes several researchers from Texas A&M University, has had its work published in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Yuan Wang, Yun Lin, Jiaxi Hu, Bowen Pan, Misti Levy and Renyi Zhang of Texas A&M’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, along with colleagues from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the University of California at San Diego and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, contributed to the work.

The team used detailed pollution emission data compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and looked at two scenarios: one for a rate in 1850 – the pre-Industrial era – and from 2000, termed present-day.

By comparing the results from an advanced global climate model, the team found that anthropogenic aerosols conclusively impact cloud formations and mid-latitude cyclones associated with the Pacific storm track.

“There appears to be little doubt that these particles from Asia affect storms sweeping across the Pacific and subsequently the weather patterns in North America and the rest of the world,” Zhang says of the findings.

“The climate model is quite clear on this point. The  aerosols formed by human activities from fast-growing Asian economies do impact storm formation and global air circulation downstream.  They tend to make storms deeper and stronger and more intense, and these storms also have more precipitation in them.  We believe this is the first time that a study has provided such a global perspective.”

In recent years, researchers have learned that atmospheric aerosols affect the climate, either directly by scattering or absorbing solar radiation, and indirectly by altering cloud formations.  Increasing levels of such particles have raised concerns because of their potential impacts on regional and global atmospheric circulation.

In addition, Zhang says large amounts of aerosols and their long-term transport from Asia across the Pacific can clearly be seen by satellite images.

The Pacific storm track represents a critical driver in the general global circulation by transporting heat and moisture, the team notes. The transfer of heat and moisture appears to be increased over the storm track downstream, meaning that the Pacific storm track is intensified because of the Asian air pollution outflow.

“Our results support previous findings that show that particles in the air over Asia tend to affect global weather patterns,” Zhang adds.

“It shows they can affect the Earth’s weather significantly.”

Yuan Wang, who conducted the research with Zhang while at Texas A&M, currently works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a Caltech Postdoctoral Scholar. The study was funded by grants from NASA, the Department of Energy, Texas A&M’s Supercomputing facilities and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China.For more about the Pacific storm track, go to http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/isidoro-orlanski-pacific-storm-track.



Air Pollution Over Asia Makes Pacific Storms More Intense

, , , , , , ,

9 Responses to Air Pollution Over Asia Makes Pacific Storms More Intense

  1. 12243753 May 2, 2014 at 2:32 am #

    Air pollution is a serious problem not just in Asia also the rest of the world. This study shows that we need to decrease air pollution otherwise we are going to kill ourselves. The government must implement measures to which help decrease air pollution. These aerosols manufacturing companies must adhere to to the regulations set by the government. u14058864 i agree with you more stricter penalties must be introduced to force these companies to adhere to the regulations.

  2. u14058864 Sinesipho Gosa May 1, 2014 at 7:52 am #

    Air pollution from Asia is not only affectiong Asia,it plays a huge role in affecting human health worldwide.Many respiratory diseases are due to air pollution,the question is; what is done to reduce air pollution?Each year deforestation levels are increasing and the very same trees people are chopping down are the ones that could be of great use in reducing the impact of air pollution.I personally think that stricter laws regarding air pollution should be enforced then can we overcome the issue of air pollution.

  3. Mathew Harris (u14171181) April 30, 2014 at 7:08 am #

    It make sense that pollution rates have increase so drastically from 1850 to 2000 in Asia due to massive increasing urbanisation and industrialisation of much of the continent. With Asia holding nearly two thirds of the worlds population, it is no wonder why there is such a massive accumulation of aerosols in Asia. This extremely large accumulation of aerosol pollution surely enables much denser and larger clouds to form due to the fact that there is now more microscopic nuclei on which water vapor particles can form. This coupled with the earths natural air movements will cause the rest of the world to experience greater storms than previously experienced in the past. I feel that this is a clear indication that the world needs to find better ways at producing electricity for its people and ways of reducing emissions so that major storms don’t cause havoc in nations that will be unable to deal with them.

  4. Kobela Rangata April 24, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    u14179785

    It is amazing how pollution from one continent can have such a great impact on the whole world. This an indication that pollution is a serious issue that need to be taken into consideration. The impact of aerosols on mid-latitude cyclone can lead to heavy rain that will results to floods. This will be a catastrophe to the whole world because the decrease in the economy of one country will affect the economy of other countries.

  5. L.J Ramolula-14019338 April 21, 2014 at 1:26 am #

    This is a particularly interesting study considering that pollution is one of the major problems the world is facing. I am just wondering is there anything that could be done to stop or reduce the emission of aerosols. What is interesting is that this post focuses on aerosol emissions in Asia but this can affect the Earth’s weather and not just Asia. Even though scientists say a lot can be done to save the earth, I do not believe this. I think as human beings, we should be more concerned about saving ourselves first because the earth has been around for quite some time now and it has been able to save and sustain itself. Saving ourselves is the same as saving the earth but with the mentality that we are saving ourselves, we tend to do more rather than when we say we are saving the earth. This is all about our mentalities. NASA has said that there is a way in which this could be solved even though some ideas are still to be explored.
    http://climate.nasa.gov/news/215

  6. Deshree Pillay-14003318 April 20, 2014 at 12:41 am #

    Some particles that contribute to air pollution entrap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. This causes an intense uplift over areas of high pollution which results in more precipitation over shorter periods of time. Due to Asia’s population numbers there is an expected continous increase in pollution. This ultimately leads to havoc such as houses being damaged and a decrease in economic activities due to intense storms, which is bad for Asia!

  7. Deshree Pillay April 18, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    Some particles that contribute to air pollution entrap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. This causes an intense uplift over areas of high pollution which results in more precipitation over shorter periods of time. Due to Asia’s population numbers there is an expected continous increase in pollution. This ultimately leads to havoc such as houses being damaged and a decrease in economic activities due to intense storms, which is bad for Asia!

  8. Lee April 15, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    So it isn’t all due to global warming, how dare they contradict dogma! Seriously, global warming is real, it just is offset by normal global cooling due to well understood patterns. For a quick summary see http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/01/of-orbits-and-ice-ages/

  9. Haarp April 15, 2014 at 7:07 am #

    Where is HAARP when we actually need it???

Leave a Reply

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *