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Study: Pollution in thunderclouds worsens global warming

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Study: Pollution in thunderclouds worsens global warming

  • A thundercloud over Seattle, Wash.
    Tony Cyphert/FlickrA thundercloud over Seattle, Wash.

Pollution trapped in thunderclouds is making climate change worse, according to a new study.

The comparative study said that pollution causes thunderclouds to spread and trap more heat from high in the atmosphere.

The heat from the clouds then drives temperatures up in the climate.

“Global climate models don’t see this effect because thunderstorm clouds simulated in those models do not include enough detail,” said Jiwen Fan of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the study’s lead author, reported Red Orbit.

“The large amount of heat trapped by the pollution-enhanced clouds could potentially impact regional circulation and modify weather systems.”

Clouds expand due to pollution previous studies found, according to TG Daily, as pollution increases the number of water droplets in clouds.

The water droplets separate and become too small to rain.

This causes clouds to expand upwards creating bigger, stormier clouds.

It also causes more trapped warmth, which leads to increasing temperatures particularly high in the atmosphere.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Maryland also contributed to the research.

The study was published in Geophysical Research Letters.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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