In the first study of its kind, scientists have compared air pollution rates from 1850 to 2000 and found that anthropogenic (man-made) particles from Asia impact the Pacific storm track that can influence weather over much of the world.
The team, which includes several researchers from Texas A&M University, has had its work published in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
By comparing the results from an advanced global climate model, the team found that anthropogenic aerosols conclusively impact cloud formations and mid-latitude cyclones associated with the Pacific storm track.
"There appears to be little doubt that these particles from Asia affect storms sweeping across the Pacific and subsequently the weather patterns in North America and the rest of the world," Renyi Zhang of Texas A&M's Department of Atmospheric Sciences, says of the findings. "The climate model is quite clear on this point. The aerosols formed by human activities from fast-growing Asian economies do impact storm formation and global air circulation downstream. They tend to make storms deeper and stronger and more intense, and these storms also have more precipitation in them. We believe this is the first time that a study has provided such a global perspective."