Manmade Aerosols Shifting Rainfall Patterns Globally

Manmade Aerosols Shifting Rainfall Patterns Globally

Scientists from University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science have found that aerosol particles have an effect on rainfall.

The study published in July 2017, reveals that aerosol particles, which are released on the burning of fossil fuels primarily cause changes in the rainfall patterns around the world. Scientists conducted climate system-model simulations to conclude the connection of human-made aerosols in the atmosphere and the large scale shifts in the earth’s temperature and rainfall. A shift in the southern tropical rain belt has been observed towards the end of the 20th century, leading to severe drought conditions in Africa and South America. This has endangered the availability of water in and around local community of these regions.

With the help of multiple climate model projections, researchers have been able to measure the effects that human-made aerosols have had on the rainfall variations during the 20th and 21st centuries.

“Our analysis showed that interactions between aerosol particles and clouds have caused large-scale shifts in precipitation during the latter half of the 20th century, and will play a key role in regulating future shifts in tropical rainfall patterns,” said Chung, scientist and lead author of the study.

It has been discovered that the radiative properties of clouds change with an increase in these human-made particles that are let out in the atmosphere, in turn causing large-scale atmospheric changes that determine regional climate and rainfall.

The models used by scientists show that the largest shift in rainfall is bound to occur in the tropics and not in the mid-latitude northern hemisphere which is the greatest source of industrial aerosols.

This research helps better understand the mechanisms causing shifts in rainfall and also predicting the climate in the future, providing more scope for its effective control.

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