A new study reveals that the number of hurricanes over the Atlantic Ocean has drastically grown in the last few decades. One of the main reasons contributing to this might shock you — the decreasing air pollution!
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) blames cleaner air over Europe and North America for the dramatic 33% increase in storm activity over the Atlantic.
According to the study, in recent decades, Europe and the US marked a 50% drop in the production of air-polluting aerosols originating from different industries, vehicle exhaust emissions, etc.
This doesn’t come as a surprise as both Europe and the US have been investing great effort to become eco-friendlier. For example, last year only, wind and solar energy comprised 13% of the total energy production nationwide.
Researchers used computer simulations and weather tracking data when they discovered the connection between air pollution and the frequency of storms of huge magnitude.
As climate scientists explain, aerosol pollution has a cooling effect on the air, protecting it from the warming effect of greenhouse gases.
Hurricanes are fueled by warm water, so with less pollution to cool the air, the ocean’s surface is becoming increasingly hotter, resulting in more hurricanes.
The data from the other side of the world, the Pacific region, corroborates this theory. Scientists found that fewer typhoons occur above the greatly polluted Pacific.
Therefore, climate experts are certain that, with lowering of the levels of aerosol pollution and the greenhouse effect becoming more prominent over the years, we’ll face huge and powerful hurricanes in the northern area of the Atlantic Ocean more frequently in the years to come.