Aerosols in the atmosphere produced from human activities do indeed directly affect a hurricane or tropical cyclone, but not in a way many scientists had previously believed – in fact, they tend to weaken such storms, according to a new study that includes a team of Texas A&M University researchers.
Renyi Zhang, University Distinguished Professor in Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M, and colleagues Yuan Wang, Keun-Hee Lee, Yun Lin and Misty Levy have had their work published in the current issue of Nature Climate Change.
The team examined how anthropogenic aerosols – those produced from human activities, such as from factories, power plants, car and airplane emissions and other forms – play a role in the development of hurricanes. The team used a complex computer model and data obtained from Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast in 2005 and produced catastrophic damage.
The researchers found that aerosols tend to weaken the development of hurricanes (tropical storms that form in the Atlantic Ocean) or typhoons (those formed in the Pacific). They also found that aerosols tend to cause a hurricane to fall apart earlier and wind speeds are lower than storms where anthropogenic aerosols are not present.
On average, there are about 90 hurricanes or cyclones that form each year around the world, meaning their findings could be crucial in how we evaluate and prepare for destructive tropical storms.
“The results are surprising,” Zhang says, “because other studies have leaned global warming by greenhouse gases makes hurricanes more intense and frequent. We found that aerosols may operate oppositely than greenhouse gases in terms of influencing hurricanes.
“Another thing we find, however, is that aerosols appear to increase the amount of precipitation in a hurricane or typhoon. The rainbands associated with such tropical storms seem to be larger and stronger.”
Zhang says the results could prove beneficial in how future hurricanes are studied – and how important the presence or absence of aerosols impact the development of such storms.
Katrina, for example, was the most destructive storm in U.S. history, with damages totaling more than $100 billion and the storm killed more than 1,800 people. Winds topped 175 miles per hour and the storm flooded 80 percent of the New Orleans area.
“The information produced from this study could be very helpful in the way we forecast hurricanes,” Zhang explains.
“Future studies may need to factor in the aerosol effect. If a hurricane or typhoon is formed in a part of the world where we know that anthropogenic aerosols are almost certainly present, that data needs to be considered in the storm formation and development and eventual storm preparation.”
Yuan Wang, who conducted the research with Zhang while at Texas A&M, currently works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a Caltech Postdoctoral Scholar.
The study was funded by grants from NASA, Texas A&M’s Supercomputing facilities and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China.
About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is in the vanguard in making significant contributions to the storehouse of knowledge, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represents annual expenditures of more than $820 million. That research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting in many cases in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit http://research.tamu.edu.
Media contact: Keith Randall, News & Information Services, Texas A&M, at (979) 845-4644, Renyi Zhang at (979) 422-5826, or Yuan Wang at (979) 450-9106.
For more news about Texas A&M University, go to http://tamutimes.tamu.edu/
Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TAMU
Keith Randall | newswise
NASA examines newly formed Tropical Depression 3W in 3-D
26.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Early organic carbon got deep burial in mantle
25.04.2017 | Rice University
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy