Air pollution caused decline in monsoon rains: Study

A new study suggests that emissions produced by human activity have caused a decline in the annual monsoon rainfall over the past 50 years.

Air pollution caused decline in monsoon rains: Study

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: A new study suggests that emissions produced by human activity have caused a decline in the annual monsoon rainfall over the past 50 years.

Researchers said in the second half of the 20th century, the levels of rain recorded during the Northern Hemisphere's summer monsoon fell by as much as 10 per cent.

Changes to global rainfall patterns can have serious consequences for human health and agriculture, said the researchers.

Scientists found that emissions of tiny air particles from man-made sources - known as anthropogenic aerosols - were the cause. High levels of aerosols in the atmosphere cause heat from the sun to be reflected back into space, lowering temperatures on the earth's surface and reducing rainfall.

Levels of aerosol emissions have soared since the 1950s, with the most common sources being power stations and cars.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh said their work provided clear evidence of human-induced rainfall change. Alterations to summer monsoon rainfall affect the lives of billions of people, mostly those living in India, South East Asia and parts of Africa.

The team calculated the average summer monsoon rainfall in the Northern Hemisphere between 1951 and 2005. They used computer-based climate models to quantify the impact of increasing aerosol emissions and greenhouse gases over the same period.

They also took account of natural factors such as volcanic eruptions and climate variability to gauge the impact of human activity on the amount of monsoon rainfall.

However, they said that the levels of man-made aerosols were expected to decline during the 21st century as countries had begun to adopt cleaner methods of power generation.

The study is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

(With Agency Inputs)

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