Researchers reported on Tuesday that pollution generated in Asia alters the chemistry of the atmosphere and causes a change in the pattern of the Pacific storm track, a major weather event in the northern hemisphere during winter.

The findings was published in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences. Renyi Zhang and colleagues from Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University analyzed cloud measurement data spanning 1984-2005 and found that deep convective clouds of the Pacific storm track arise in connection with pollution emission from Asia.

During the past few decades, satellite measurements have revealed an increase in atmospheric aerosols, largely sulfate and soot from coal burning, particularly in India and China. Atmospheric aerosols influence cloud development, duration, or precipitation, but to what extent is not well understood.

Aerosols generated in Asia enhanced the cloud updraft to generate more intense thunderstorms than previously observed. Comparison of deep convective clouds in 1984-1994 with 1994-2005 showed that these types of clouds increased in number by 20-50 percent.

According to the researchers, these findings link a large-scale storm system with anthropogenic pollution. The Pacific storm track plays a critical role in global atmospheric circulation, and altering this weather pattern could have a significant impact on the climate.