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Pollution

The sea always sends it back: the link between air pollution, cyclones, and the smog over our cities

Data shows that cyclones from the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal are becoming more frequent and intense. While warming oceans have been directly linked to cyclone frequency, a new factor is beginning to play a key role: air pollution. What’s worse: air pollution and cyclones may be feeding on each other.
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22 Nov 2019 4 Mins Read 3 comments
A woman cooks amid the debris in the storm-ravaged town of Puri in Odisha on May 4, after cyclone Fani. Getty Images
A woman cooks amid the debris in the storm-ravaged town of Puri in Odisha on May 4, after cyclone Fani.
This year marked several firsts in the North Indian Ocean cyclone season. There’s a cyclone season? If you didn’t know such a thing existed, well, the North Indian Ocean cyclone season usually lasts between April and December, with peaks in May and November. But this year saw the earliest-forming cyclone ever, with cyclone Pabuk, in the very first week of
cyclonic winds and haze events coincided. While air pollution has repeatedly been linked to increasing health issues — it is said to kill a child every three minutes in India — the effects may be even more — a double whammy of choking our cities and battering our coasts at the same time. ( Graphics by Abdul Shafiq)
This year marked several firsts in the North Indian Ocean cyclone season. There’s a cyclone season? If you didn’t know such a thing existed, well, the North Indian Ocean cyclone season usually lasts between April and December, with peaks in May and November. But this year saw the earliest-forming cyclone ever, with cyclone Pabuk, in the very first week of cyclonic winds and haze events coincided. While air pollution has repeatedly been linked to increasing health issues — it is said to kill a child every three minutes in India — the effects may be even more — a double whammy of choking our cities and battering our coasts at the same time. ( Graphics by Abdul Shafiq)

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