Rapid industrialisation in Asia leads to more violent Pacific ocean weather

Rapid industrialisation over the last 20 years in Asia and the Indian subcontinent has increased aerosol levels over the Pacific Ocean. The severe air pollution, caused mainly by increased burning of coal, has doubled the number of storm clouds heading east towards North America, and may even increase warming in the Arctic, according to reports on the BBC and Guardian websites.

Dr Renyi Zhang, an atmospheric scientist at Texas A&M University led a team of researchers in analysing information recorded on clouds over the Pacific from 1984 to 2005. Aerosols can affect weather by influencing the formation and duration of clouds and it’s thought that the polluted air causes clouds to retain their moisture longer, creating more intense storms further down the line.

The ocean’s storm system effectively circulates warm, moist air to the northern latitudes. Any increase in the strength of these storms transports more warmth to the north and endangers the arctic ice caps.

“Warming in the polar regions has catastrophic climate consequences, such as polar ice caps shrinking and sea level rising,” wrote Dr Zhang.