Cleaner air may have brought more storms | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.


News

Cleaner air may have brought more storms

Pollution during the 20th century appears to have suppressed North Atlantic hurricanes

By
9:59am, June 24, 2013

The Clean Air Act, which has benefited breathing in many American cities over the last few decades, may have worsened the weather in some places.

New climate simulations suggest that reducing the level of atmospheric aerosol particles produced by human activity might have been the main cause of a recent increase in tropical storm frequency in the North Atlantic.

Aerosol levels have increased since the industrial revolution began, but there have been periods when emissions stalled or fell, such as the Great Depression, World War II and after clean air legislation was enacted in Europe and the United States in the 1970s and 1980s.

The climate simulations suggest that these periods of low emissions eventually increased tropical storm frequency. “It seems the Clean Air Act in particular has led to an increased number of hurricanes over the last decade or so,” says Doug Smith of Met Office Hadley Centre in England, a coauthor of the research published

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content