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Pollution may be strengthening Asian cyclones

Sooty brown cloud cools water and lowers wind speeds, study finds

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2:13pm, November 2, 2011

A large and growing brown cloud of persistent air pollution hovering over northern India and surrounding regions has doubled — and occasionally tripled — the intensity of late spring cyclones in the Arabian Sea during the past three decades.

Within the past decade, several notable early-season tropical cyclones have ripped through the region. Gonu, the strongest, smashed through the Middle East in 2007, killing dozens and causing more than $4 billion worth of damage. “This supercyclonic storm was Katrina-like in size and intensity,” says climate scientist Amato Evan of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

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