Well, this is kind of a downer, isn't it?

For years, we have been told how pollution is terrible for the Earth. And, it is. It contributes to lung issues and environmental cancers and other sicknesses to our bodies.

Oil and gas companies have fought to keep emissions standards low; ordinary citizens have fought to do "their part" - and have implored others to do the same - to bring about a cleaner environment.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, these efforts have been working:

Between 1990 and 2020, national concentrations of air pollutants improved 73 percent for carbon monoxide, 86 percent for lead (from 2010), 61 percent for annual nitrogen dioxide, 25 percent for ozone, 26 percent for 24-hour coarse particle concentrations, 41 percent for annual fine particles (from 2000), and 91 percent for sulfur dioxide.

And again, I believe we should take care of what's been given to us. In this case, it's the planet we live on.

But it turns out there may actually be a downside to the anti-pollution messaging working: we are seeing more hurricanes as a result of less pollution.

Hurricane Ida, radar.weather.gov

That's according to a National Oceanic at Atmospheric Administration study that looked at looked at North America and Europe compared to Asia.

What they are finding is that over off the Asian coast - of the China coast in the western Pacific - they’ve had a reduction in typhoons because they have increased pollution," says State Climatologist Barry Keim to Louisiana Radio Network, which is in contrast to what was found in North America and Europe. "We’ve (North America and Europe) put in all sorts of efforts to reduce pollution for health reasons but it’s keeping the atmosphere cleaner and more transparent to the sun’s rays which are heating up all those sea surface temperatures and leading to an increase in hurricanes.”

Yes, you read that right. Pollution actually blocks out the sun's rays and off of heavily polluted coasts. That leads to cooler sea surface temperatures.

And Keim points out an interesting stat to prove that less pollution is leading to more hurricanes: a 34% increase in the total number of storms over the past few decades.

Hurricane Delta

In Louisiana, we've been battered by monster hurricanes Delta, Ida, and Laura over the past three years alone.

The ironic result suggests the necessity of careful policy decision-making in the future that considers the pros and cons of the multiple impacts,” says Hiroyuki Murakami, a physical scientist at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and study author.

I'm just curious as to what kind of policy - or technological advancement - can help strike that balance between pollution and hurricanes - two enemies who have caused havoc on societies across the world.

KEEP READING: Get answers to 51 of the most frequently asked weather questions...

Aerial Pictures of Southwest Louisiana Before & After Hurricane Laura


LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.

Gallery Credit: KATELYN LEBOFF



More From 99.9 KTDY