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Cleaner Air Could Be Responsible for More Tropical Storms

June 28, 2013
Environmental Protection

A new analysis by the Met Office Hadley Centre has concluded that clean air in the west may have been good for Public Health but it has also led to a rise in the number of tropical storms since the mid 1990s. Aerosols produced by pollution sources have been found to deflect more of the suns rays leading to a cooling effect on the earth. Cooler air affects ocean temperatures and tropical circulation patterns making hurricanes less likely. Nick Dunstone of the Hadley Centre says further controls to improve air quality “could reduce aerosols so quickly that we have record numbers of tropical storms for the next decade or two.” Statistics show there were a record 28 tropical storms in 2005 and 19 in 2012.

Researchers studied historical records comparing the frequency of tropical storms with periods of industrial growth during the years from 1960-1990 and then compared this with a decline in incidence in the past 23 years as pollution levels have declined. Whilst acknowledging that efforts to cut air pollution have had a positive influence on Public Health, Mr Dunstone also pointed out that, “This study really highlights that man may be having more of an influence on our regional climate than was previously thought.” It is expected that in the next few decades the increasing influence of global warming will reverse the trend as the earth’s surface warms. 

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