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Air pollution can reduce rainfall

Air pollution can reduce rainfall

Air pollution can reduce rainfall
March 8, 2007

Air pollution can reduce rainfall in mountainous areas according to research published in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

50 years of measurements at Mt. Hua near Xi’an, in central China, show that precipitation levels can be decreased by 30 to 50 percent during hazy conditions. The researchers say this is the result of high concentrations of particulates in the air which cause cloud droplets to be smaller and less likely to become raindrops.

The work suggests that such pollution may be contributing to drought conditions in other parts of the world, including “western U.S. mountain ranges that are downwind from polluted urban areas.”

Western China. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Lead author Daniel Rosenfeld of the Institute of Earth Sciences at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem teamed with six Chinese scientific: Jin Dai, Xing Yu, Zhanyu Yao, Xiaohong Xu, Xing Yang, and Chuanli Du.

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