Too much pollution makes us cough and wheeze, but did you know that it can also change our weather? In July 2013 Beichuan County, a mountainous region in southwest China, was devastated by a catastrophic flood, with 94cm of rain falling in just two days. It was the worst flood the region has seen in over five decades. Nineteen people lost their lives and the city of Qushan was submerged under 7m of water.
A model of this extreme weather event shows that it was driven by excessive pollution in the neighbouring Sichuan basin. Running the model first with clean air and then with the choking Sichuan haze, scientists found that the heavy air pollution increased rainfall over the mountainous region by as much as 60% in July 2013.
Source: Guardian Environment