Study Links Air Pollution to Cyclones in the Arabian Sea

There are certain groups of people in the world today who deny mankind’s ability to alter the environment in any way, shape or form. The unfortunate reality is that mankind has already altered our planet’s ecology and atmosphere in ways we are only just starting to understand. A new report indicates that aerosol build ups in Asia are weakening winds and allowing larger, stronger cyclones to form in the Arabian Sea.

Winds Of Worry

The study in Nature describes a weakening wind current patterns in the last 30 years, which seem to correspond with an increase in aerosols in the atmosphere. In previous years, strong winds in the upper and lower atmosphere travelling in the opposite direction made the formation of cyclones all but impossible during the hot summer months when the Arabian Sea is warmest. Thus the few cyclones the area saw tended to fall outside of the summer months.

But in recent decades cyclones have been forming more frequently, and in greater strength, during the Arabian summers, as the wind shear has diminished across the region. Scientists have found that “brown clouds” formed by excessive emissions in the region reflect sunlight, reducing the sea temperature and wind shear. These brown clouds are also blamed for the melting of Himalayan glaciers, acid rain, and a number of other environmental ills.

Engineering Disaster

In the Arabia and India, where glacial melting is less of a worry, recent Cyclones in 2007 and 2010 have combined caused upwards of $6 billion in damage and were rated as catagory 4 and 5 storms. In 1998, a cyclone in India west cost killed over 2,900 people. And this is just the tip of the iceberg; our dependence on fossil fuels is already proven to affect everything from heart health to earthquakes. The more we ignore this problem, the worse it is gonna get.

Luckily, say scientists, these pollution clouds can be greatly reduced through use of available technologies, like diesel filters on trucks and smaller engines running LPG fuel. Whether or not that actually happens is another story, but to me this is yet more evidence that yes, mankind can and does alter the environment, often to the detriment of us all.

Source: Green Car Congress | Nature | Image: Dust Storm via Shutterstock


Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.