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Pollution Worsens Drought

  • 29 Aug 2019
  • 2 min read

Recently, a study done by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune has revealed that, during El Nino years, pollutants from south Asian countries can amplify the effect of the climate cycle on the monsoon, increasing the severity of droughts in India.

  • The study held that pollutants loading in the Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer (a high altitude layer of pollutants), reduced the amount of solar radiation in the Indian subcontinent region.
  • The enhanced aerosol loading leads to abnormal cooling over north India and Tibetan plateau, which weakens the low-pressure system.
  • This leads to weakening the monsoon circulation and thereby aggravates the severity of the drought.
  • This phenomenon has led to a decrease in rainfall is around 17% over central India.
  • Since aerosol pollution loading over South Asia is still expected to remain until the end of the 2040s. Therefore, more extreme El Nino events can be expected.
  • The study also held that the future increases in industrial emissions from both east and south Asia would lead to a wider and thicker pollutant aerosol layer in the upper troposphere, potentially amplifying the severity of droughts over India.

Source: TOI

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