Man-made particles affect hurricane frequency, study finds

Jun 23, 2013
A television reporter watches waves hit a pier before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy October 29, 2012 just off the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Higher levels of air pollution reduced the frequency of North Atlantic hurricanes and other tropical storms for most of the 20th century, a study said Sunday.

Higher levels of air pollution reduced the frequency of North Atlantic hurricanes and other tropical storms for most of the 20th century, a study said Sunday.

Adding to evidence for mankind's impact on the , the probe found a link between these powerful storms and aerosols, the scientific term for specks of matter suspended in a gas.

Aerosols can occur in natural form—as dusty volcanic plumes, clouds or fog—but are also man-made, such as sooty particles from burning coal or oil.

The study focused on particles from North America and Europe that were generated mainly from .

Researchers from the UK Met Office created weather simulations covering the period 1860 to 2050.

They found that tropical storms were much less frequent during periods when emissions of man-made aerosols increased over the North Atlantic.

"Increases in anthropogenic emissions (particularly of aerosols) through most of the last century is found to have reduced hurricane activity," co-author Ben Booth told AFP.

"The cooling impact of man-emitted aerosols may have had a more important regional impact on climate than we previous appreciated."

Aerosols reflect solar rays and change the brightness of clouds, which affects how much of the Sun's heat is projected onto the surface of the sea, the authors suggest.

Ocean warmth provides the raw energy for tropical storms, which in can brew into destructive hurricanes.

Conversely, the study found that measures since the 1980s to tackle pollution and improve air quality reduced levels of aerosols—and in turn ramped up hurricane activity.

"The clean-up of industrial aerosols in the last 20 years, while being beneficial for human health and linked to a recovery of African Sahel rains since the 1980s , may have contributed to increases in Atlantic hurricane activity," Booth said by email.

The authors said their study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, is the first to demonstrate a link between aerosols and Atlantic tropical storms.

The research team postulates that in the future, it will be Earth-warming greenhouse gases, much longer-lasting than aerosols, that will exert the most influence on tropical storm frequency.

Previous work published in Nature Climate Change had said that while the number of was not projected to increase in future, their intensity was.

The hurricane season runs from June to November. For 2013, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted 13 to 20 "named" storms, seven to 11 hurricanes and three to six major hurricanes.

Explore further: 2013 North Atlantic hurricane forecast predicts above-average season

More information: Paper: dx.doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1854
News&Views: dx.doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1871

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User comments : 12

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VENDItardE
1 / 5 (17) Jun 23, 2013
Researchers from the UK Met Office created weather simulations covering the period 1860 to 2050.

rated article a 1.....'nuff said
geokstr
1.8 / 5 (18) Jun 23, 2013
Now suppose our state of knowledge at this time showed this to be true, but we didn't yet have the technology to understand the effects of aerosols on the ozone layer, nor the medical research to know that pollution from burning coal would have deleterious health effects. What would the chicken littles be advocating?

Burn more coal, and pump up the aerosols, in order to reduce tropical storms and their severity.

This is in fact what I and many others of the evil "denialists" are concerned about. Do we really know what drives climate, given that new drivers and their interactions with each other are seemingly discovered all the time? Unintended consequences can be a bitch, and are often only noticeable when it's too late.

Yet all we hear of solutions are political, and ones that would be disastrous for the world economy and liberty. The world may be warming, but we better be damned sure that what we do about it doesn't make things far worse.
ekim
5 / 5 (15) Jun 23, 2013
I wish more "denialists" worked for my insurance company. Maybe then my rates would go down. Of course it's hard to stick your head in the sand when money is on the line.
gwrede
1.3 / 5 (15) Jun 23, 2013
"The clean-up of industrial aerosols in the last 20 years, while being beneficial for human health and linked to a recovery of African Sahel rains since the 1980s droughts, may have contributed to increases in Atlantic hurricane activity," Booth said by email.
How on Earth are we going to get Republicans to join the AGW crowd, when this kind of complicated, murky, and ambiguous results are published? This article will simply further convince denialists.
Howhot
4.9 / 5 (14) Jun 23, 2013
From deep in the article;
"Increases in anthropogenic emissions (particularly of aerosols) through most of the last century is found to have reduced hurricane activity," co-author Ben Booth told AFP.
"The cooling impact of man-emitted aerosols may have had a more important regional impact on climate than we previous appreciated."


I would think the right wingnutties would be happy with this article since it's about "Antropogenic cooling" . How man-made aerosols (soot) created from burning diesel, petrol, and coal primarily coal, cool certain geographic areas and reduces the potential for hurricanes in those areas. From the article;
the study found that measures since the 1980s to tackle pollution and improve air quality reduced levels of aerosols—and in turn ramped up hurricane activity.


However long term things aren't looking good since CO2 global warming last 1000s of years longer than cooling aerosols.

kevin_buckeye_3
4.7 / 5 (13) Jun 24, 2013
Researchers from the UK Met Office created weather simulations covering the period 1860 to 2050.

rated article a 1.....'nuff said


Yea,so it's okay now to go ahead and emit tons of C02 and CH4 into the atmosphere?
WRONG! Clearly,the article is giving credit to humanity for getting rid of aerosols.

Again,CO2 and CH4 molecules both absorb infrared rays from the sun and trap heat. It's called an endothermic reaction via change in entropy.
kevin_buckeye_3
4.7 / 5 (13) Jun 24, 2013
We also cut down over 50% of the Earth's forests.Those Ecosystems are needed as a whole to filter out 7,000,000,000 people's pollution emissions.
Anonym
1 / 5 (12) Jun 24, 2013
Ah, the UK Met office ... their models predicted that snowfall in Britain would be but a distant memory in this century. Wrong. They predicted that warming was linked linearly to CO2 emissions. Wrong; CO2 continues to rise, but not global temps. They predicted increasing severity and frequency of hurricanes as a result of AGW. Wrong; since 2005, storm frequency has dropped dramatically, as has tornadic activity in the US. None of their misfires would matter in the least except that there's real money --- yours and mine --- at stake in governments' response to the errant predictions of these deeply flawed models. The map is not the territory; Columbus demonstrated this 500 years ago, and we still haven't learned the lesson.
Howhot
5 / 5 (9) Jun 28, 2013
Ah, the UK Met office ... their models predicted that snowfall in Britain would be but a distant memory in this century. Wrong. They predicted that warming was linked linearly to CO2 emissions. Wrong; CO2 continues to rise, but not global temps. They predicted increasing severity and frequency of hurricanes as a result of AGW. Wrong; since 2005, storm frequency has dropped dramatically, as has tornadic activity in the US. None of their misfires would matter in the least except that there's real money --- yours and mine --- at stake in governments' response to the errant predictions of these deeply flawed models. The map is not the territory; Columbus demonstrated this 500 years ago, and we still haven't learned the lesson.


Ahhh so so true. Your comment demonstrates climate change is not an easy thing to computer model. There are so many partial differential equations used trying to model various functions of the atmosphere... etc. But look at how fast Greenland melts!
runrig
5 / 5 (8) Jun 29, 2013
Researchers from the UK Met Office created weather simulations covering the period 1860 to 2050.

rated article a 1.....'nuff said


rated you a 1 ..... 'nuff said
antigoracle
1 / 5 (10) Jul 12, 2013
Is it AGW? Is it aerosols?
It is more AGW Alarmists BS.
What increase in storms?
http://www.gfdl.n...-records
deepsand
3 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2013
Is it AGW? Is it aerosols?
It is more AGW Alarmists BS.
What increase in storms?

Nope; just more BS from the Cult of Denial of Reality.

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