Asian pollution hikes Australian rainfall

Dec. 13, 2006 at 10:51 AM
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CAMPBELL, Australia, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- An Australian study suggests elevated particle emissions from Asian industrial activity might have increased Australia's tropical rainfall.

The study was conducted by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization.

"Until now, there has been ample evidence that these particles have important effects on climate in the Northern Hemisphere, but little such evidence in the Southern Hemisphere," said CSIRO scientist Leon Rotstayn. "What we have seen in our latest climate simulations is that 'Asian haze' is having an effect on the Australian hydrological cycle and generated increasing rainfall and cloudiness since 1950, especially over northwest and central Australia.

"The effect occurs because the haze cools the Asian continent and nearby oceans, and thereby alters the delicate balance of temperature and winds between Asia and Australia," he added. "It has nothing to do with Asian pollution being transported directly over Australia."

Rotstayn says the study's findings imply decreasing pollution in Asia later this century could lead to an increase in Australian drying trends.

The study -- conducted in collaboration with U.S. scientists from the University of Michigan and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- is to be published early next year in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

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