WASHINGTON: Pollution from Asia, including India and China, is helping to generate stronger storms over the North Pacific Ocean, according to new research.
Changes in the North Pacific storm track could have an impact on weather across the Northern Hemisphere.
Satellite measurements have shown an increase in recent decades of tiny particles generated from the burning of coal in China and India, researchers report on the issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on 6 March.
The team, led by Renyi Zhang of Texas A&M University, studied pollution and clouds between 1984 and 2005 and concluded that the increasing particles enhanced the cloud updraft to generate more intense thunderstorms than previously.
Comparing 1984-1994 with 1994-2005 they found an increase of 20% to 50% in deep convective clouds.
The Pacific storm track, they noted, plays a critical role in global atmospheric circulation, and altering this weather pattern could have a significant impact on the climate.
“The intensified storms over the Pacific in winter are climatically significant,” the researchers said. “The intensified Pacific storm track can also impact the global general circulation.”
A particular threat, they added, is the potential for increased warming of polar regions.
The research was supported by National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Spcce Administration.