Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Air Pollution Increases River Flows

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Air Pollution Increases River Flows

Article excerpt

A study published in Nature Geoscience shows that air pollution has had a significant impact on the amount of water flowing through many rivers in the northern hemisphere.

The paper shows how such pollution, known as aerosols, can affect the natural environment and highlights the importance of considering these factors in assessments of future climate change.

The research resulted from a collaboration between scientists at the Met Office, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, University of Reading, Laboratoire de Meteorologie Dynamique in France, and the University of Exeter.

"We detect the impact of solar dimming on enhanced river flows over regions in the heavily industrialised northern extra-tropics," says Nicola Gedney, lead author of the paper. We estimate that, in the most polluted central Europe river basin, this effect led to an increase in river flow of up to 25% when the aerosol levels were at their peak around 1980. With water shortages likely to be one of the biggest impacts of climate change in the future, these findings are important in making projections."

It is already established that increased burning of sulphurous coal up to the late 1970s led to additional aerosols in the atmosphere. …

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