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Man-made particles lowered hurricane frequency: study
Higher levels of air pollution reduced the frequency of North Atlantic hurricanes and other tropical storms for most of the 20th century, a study said Sunday.
Adding to evidence for mankind's impact on the weather system, the probe found a link between these powerful storms and aerosols, the scientific term for specks of matter suspended in a gas.
Aerosols can occur in natural form -- as dusty volcanic plumes, clouds or fog -- but are also man-made, such as sooty particles from burning coal or oil.
The study focused on particles from North America and Europe that were generated mainly from burning fossil fuels.
"Increases in anthropogenic emissions (particularly of aerosols) through most of the last century is found to have reduced hurricane activity," co-author Ben Booth told AFP.
"The cooling impact of man-emitted aerosols may have had a more important regional impact on climate than we previous appreciated."
Conversely, the study found that measures since the 1980s to tackle pollution and improve air quality reduced levels of aerosols -- and in turn ramped up hurricane activity.