Have you noticed that Tornadoes don’t like to strike cities or towns during the weekends? Scientists have released a study that revealed that human activity may be the culprit behind an increase in tornado and hailstorms across the U.S. They stated that severe weather is worse during the week when air pollution is at its highest – possibly because of our daily commutes between work and home.
The team analyzed summertime storm activity in the Eastern U.S. from ’95 to ’09 using the data from the NOAA – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Storm Prediction Center. They came up with the conclusion that tornadoes and hailstorms occurred at a rate of 20 percent above average during the week, and 20 percent below average on the weekends.
This isn’t because we only have Two days in the weekend, and 5 days during the week, but it actually has to do with the quality of the air. The actual study proved to not be random, as a matter of fact; they actually found similarities with other types of storms around the country and they came up with the same results – The higher the pollution, the higher the chances of storms.
The researchers took the EPA air quality data, and put it side by side to the NOAA and they determined that the data matches – pretty much, the more we drive back and forth, the worse the storm will be. This research is about the impact our pollution has on storms. Tornadoes will strike any day and time of week, this research is just pointing out that there 20 percent chance that it will happen during the week.
Why Does Pollution Have Anything To Do With Storms?
The researchers say that pollution causes moisture to gather around the pollutant – the little tiny molecules that create smog are like tiny cotton balls. This moisture leads to more cloud droplets as pollution increases. These pollutants get taken up higher into the air and eventually get turned into hail. More pollution = more water moisture going into the air = more hail.
What About The Tornadoes?
Tornadoes use the same concept, but use different methods. They said that larger, heavier hail making water droplets have less surface area than the other particles of “normal” condensed water drops. Basically, the water droplets that are stuck to the pollutants evaporate slower than a normal water drop. This causes the polluted water drops to not pull heat from the air which makes it easier for the warm air to rise to the top and create supercells – the clouds that spawn tornadoes.
Of course, you also need humidity in order to make violent storms. The Western U.S. has very little humidity and is extremely dry. The cloud masses are also too high and too cold for pollution to react the same way as it does in the eastern U.S.
So as it turns out, Pollution is not only bad for our health, it also pisses off the Earth. Now you have to understand one thing, just because pollution causes more storms, it doesn’t mean that NOT HAVING pollution will stop the storms. Storms will continue to happen, but we actually have an impact on how often and how bad they happen. Via Ecogeek