Air pollution linked for first time to droughts and major storms
A groundbreaking new study has found an increase in air pollution can reduce rainfall in drought-affected regions and worsen the severity of storms in wet regions or seasons.
Researchers have discovered that increases in air pollution and other particulate matter in the atmosphere can strongly affect cloud development in ways that reduce precipitation in dry regions or seasons.
This while increasing rain, snowfall and the intensity of severe storms in wet regions or seasons, according to results of a new study.
The research provides the first clear evidence of how aerosols - soot, dust and other particulates in the atmosphere - may affect weather and climate.
The findings have important implications for the availability, management and use of water resources in regions across the United States and around the world.
"Using a 10-year dataset of atmospheric measurements, we have uncovered the long-term, net impact of aerosols on cloud height and thickness and the resulting changes in precipitation frequency and intensity," says Zhanqing Li, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Maryland and lead author of a paper reporting the results.
The paper was published today in the journal Nature Geoscience.