Experts wondering about the whims of ever-changing weather patterns may now have better clues to predict devastating storm and torrential rain. A NASA satellite images have linked air pollution to deadlier storm and stronger rain.
The chief miscreant that influences such link is air pollution arising out of human activities, claims Thomas Bell, a scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who led the study. The study published in a recent issue of Geophysical Research Letters found that rainfall increased when pollution from human activities also rose to high levels.
Studying images beamed back by NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite, the scientists came up with encouraging findings. It was found that rainfall grew stronger between Tuesday and Thursday than from Saturday through Monday. Summer 2007 witnessed rain peaked late on Thursdays. Analyzed data showed that rainfall increased 1.8 times on Thursdays compared to Saturdays.
Workweek pollution has long been a suspect in changing weather patterns. This hunch led scientists to analyze particulate matter and airborne particles, which have roles in pollution. This analysis was conducted across the U.S. from 1998 to 2005. Meanwhile, a study by Environmental Protection Agency also found that pollution soared during midweek when rainfall increased supporting the claim of NASA scientists.
The study found that the particles also played roles in the formation of clouds and storm. The particles kept the size of water droplets in clouds smaller. And then when conditions brew a storm, the smaller droplets journey into upper atmosphere where they freeze. This fuels a stronger storm followed by a heavy rainfall. In this regard, TRMM satellite images give clinching evidence. According to images, storms move to higher altitudes during midweek than on weekends leading storms and heavier rainfall.
The insights gleaned from this study will provide weather experts a knowledge base to predict rainfall with more accuracy.