Decline in pollution in Europe since 1980 favors more severe hurricanes

Surprisingly, Cleaner air in Europe and North America produces more hurricanes in the AtlanticAs demonstrated in a study sponsored by the US government, specifically the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This finding concludes that a 50% reduction in particulate pollution in Europe and the USA is associated with a 33% increase in Atlantic storm formation over the past two decades. In contrast, the opposite happens in the Pacific, with more pollution and less typhoons.According to research published in the journal Science Advances A few days ago.

NOAA hurricane scientist Hiroyuki Murakami ran multiple climate computer simulations to explain changes in storm activity in different parts of the world. These changes cannot be explained by natural climate cycles, and an association has been found with aerosol pollution from industry and automobiles.. These aerosols are sulfur particles and droplets suspended in the air, making it difficult to breathe and see.

Scientists have long known that aerosol pollution cools the air and sometimes mitigates the greater effects of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels. Earlier studies had seen this as a cause of increased storms in the Atlantic, but Murakami found a more direct explanation.

Hurricanes over the North Atlantic Pan


Hurricanes need warm water, heated by the air, as the ‘fuel’ that drives them. and they suffer from ‘wind ‘shear’, which turns into high-level winds and can ‘head off’ storm tops. Cleaner air in the Atlantic and dirtier air in the Pacific due to pollution in China and India affect both phenomena, Murakami said.

Pollution in the Atlantic has decreased since 1980

In the North Atlantic, aerosol pollution peaked around 1980 and has been declining steadily since then. This means that the cooling that masks some of the warming from greenhouse gases wears off, so sea surface temperatures are rising further, Murakami explained.

And also, the absence of cooling aerosols helped push the jet stream (air flow that moves air west to east on a roller coaster-like route) further northreduced ‘cutting’, which reduces tornado formation.

“This is why the Atlantic has been going crazy since the mid-90s and was so quiet in the 70s and 80s,” said Jim Kossin, climatologist and hurricane scientist at The Climate insurance company. Aerosol pollution gave a lot of people a break in the ’70s and ’80s, but now we’re all paying the price for it“, added.

In tropical cyclone activity, there are other factors related to La Niña and El Niño, natural fluctuations in temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, and other factors that alter the world’s climate. Murakami said that human-induced climate change due to greenhouse gases, which will grow as a decrease in the level of aerosol pollution, also affects long-term natural climate releases.

tornado formation TV


Climate change caused by greenhouse gases is expected to slightly reduce the overall number of storms, but increase the number and strength of the most intense hurricanes.Wet them more and increase the flooding of storm surges, Murakami, Kossin, and other scientists explain.

Cyclones will increase in the Atlantic

Adam Sobel, a climate scientist at Columbia, said that although cooling from aerosols is half to one-third smaller than warming caused by greenhouse gases, it is about twice as effective at reducing the intensity of tropical cyclones than increasing warming. University.

Murakami said that the impact of climate change on cyclones will increase and become more pronounced in the future, as aerosol pollution remains low in the Atlantic and greenhouse gas emissions increase.

Meanwhile in the PacificAerosol pollution from Asian countries increased by 50% between 1980 and 2010 and is now starting to decline. Murakami said tropical cyclone formation between 2001 and 2020 was 14% less than between 1980 and 2000.

Murakami also found slightly different results when examining what happened further south. The decline in aerosol pollution in Europe and the United States has changed global weather patterns in such a way that storms have decreased in the southern hemisphere, particularly around Australia.

Pollution kills more than hurricanes

But while more Atlantic hurricanes could be a problem, The deaths caused by these phenomena cannot be compared to the seven million people worldwide who die from air pollution each year.He remembered Kristie Ebi, a professor of public health at the University of Washington.

“Air pollution is one of the leading causes of death, so reducing emissions is critical regardless of the number of cyclones,” Ebi said. Said.

Reference work: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abn9493

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Environment department contact address:crisclimatica@prensaiberica.es

Source: Informacion

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