Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pollution shown cutting rainfall in hilly areas

09.03.2007
Manmade climate change due to pollution seriously inhibits precipitation over hills in semi-arid regions, a phenomenon with dire consequences for water resources in the Middle east and many other parts of the world, a study by a Chinese-Israeli research team, led by Prof. Daniel Rosenfeld of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has shown.

The Chinese and Israeli researchers showed that the average precipitation on Mount Hua near Xian in central China has decreased by 20 percent along with increasing levels of manmade air pollution during the last 50 years. The precipitation loss was doubled on days that had the poorest visibility due to pollution particles in the air.

This explains the widely observed trends of decrease in mountain precipitation relative to the rainfall in nearby densely populated lowlands, which until now had not been directly ascribed to air pollution.

The research study, published in the current issue of the journal Science, is titled “Inverse Relations between Amounts of Air Pollution and Orographic Precipitation” and was written by Prof. Rosenfeld of the Hebrew University’s Ring Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Jin Dai and others from the Meteorological Institute of Shaanxi Province, China, and Zhanyu Yao of the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Science.

These findings highlight the threat to vital water resources in polluted regions of the world where hilly-area precipitation makes a significant contribution to the regional water supply, as in the southwestern U.S. central and northern China, and the Middle East. The importance of that is underlined by the realization that it is not high temperatures due to global warming but rather the lack of water that makes a region into an unlivable desert.

The authors studied observations of precipitation and visibility starting in 1954 at the top of Mount Hua. They linked the decreasing visibility at its over two-kilometer-high summit with increasing air pollution particles that reach to the clouds. They were able to show that the trend of higher concentrations of these fine, airborne, pollutants (aerosols) is responsible for the observed decreasing trend of mountain precipitation. This is the first time that this link has been demonstrated so conclusively.

The precipitation inhibition process occurs as water vapor condenses on the pollution particles and creates a cloud with a large number of drops that are so small that they float with the air and are slow to coalesce into raindrops or to freeze into sleet and snowflakes. This slowing translates into a net loss of precipitation when the cloud “lifetime” is shorter than the time necessary to release its water. This is the case for clouds that form when they ascend across a ridge and then descend and evaporate on the downwind side.

By making use of precipitation and visibility records that show a direct causal link between the airborne particle pollution and the mountain precipitation losses, the unique China study can serve as a template to bear out hypotheses about the effects of pollution on rainfall that were undertaken previously by Prof. Rosenfeld in hilly regions with similar pollutive conditions. These include California and much of the western United States. Similar trends were already published also for Israel, and observed in South Africa, Portugal, France, Switzerland, Morocco, Canada, Greece and Spain.

Atmospheric aerosols have been described in earlier studies as playing a role in cooling the atmosphere by reflecting some of the incoming solar radiation back into space -- thus serving as a counterbalance to global warming resulting from the release of greenhouse gases. The latest study by Prof. Rosenfeld and his Chinese associates shows, however, that this “beneficial” effect is offset by the proven direct link between air pollution and decreased mountain precipitation, and that climate change means much more than “just” global warming.

Jerry Barach | alfa
Further information:
http://www.huji.ac.il

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Los Alamos researchers and supercomputers help interpret the latest LIGO findings

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Study shows how water could have flowed on 'cold and icy' ancient Mars

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Navigational view of the brain thanks to powerful X-rays

18.10.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>