Direct human influences on climate have been detected at local scales, such as urban temperature increases and precipitation enhancement1,2,3, and at global scales4,5. A possible indication of an anthropogenic effect on regional climate is by identification of equivalent weekly cycles in climate and pollution variables. Weekly cycles have been observed in both global surface temperature6 and local pollution7 data sets. Here we describe statistical analyses that reveal weekly cycles in three independent regional-scale coastal Atlantic data sets: lower-troposphere pollution, precipitation and tropical cyclones. Three atmospheric monitoring stations record minimum concentrations of ozone and carbon monoxide early in the week, while highest concentrations are observed later in the week. This air-pollution cycle corresponds to observed weekly variability in regional rainfall and tropical cyclones. Specifically, satellite-based precipitation estimates indicate that near-coastal ocean areas receive significantly more precipitation at weekends than on weekdays. Near-coastal tropical cyclones have, on average, significantly weaker surface winds, higher surface pressure and higher frequency at weekends. Although our statistical findings limit the identification of cause–effect relationships, we advance the hypothesis that the thermal influence of pollution-derived aerosols on storms may drive these weekly climate cycles.
Access optionsAccess options
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Changnon, S. A. J METROMEX: A review and summary. Meteorol. Monogr. 40, 1–181 (1981).
Dettwiller, J. W. & Changnon, S. A. J Possible urban effects on maximum daily rainfall at Paris, St. Louis and Chicago. J. Appl. Meteorol. 15, 517–519 (1976).
Ackerman, B. S. et al. Summary of METROMEX Vol. 2, Causes of Precipitation Anomalies (Illinois State Water Survey, Urbana, IL, (1978)).
Houghton, J. T. et al. (eds) Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change (Cambridge Univ. Press, (1996)).
Tett, S. F. B., Mitchell, J. F. B., Parker, D. E. & Allen, M. R. Human influence on the atmosphere vertical temperature structure: Detection and observations. Science 274, 1170–1173 ((1996)).
Gordon, A. H. Weekdays warmer than weekends? Nature 367, 325–326 (1994).
Graedel, T. E., Farrow, L. A. & Weber, T. A. Photochemistry of the ‘Sunday Effect’. Environ. Sci. Technol. 11, 690–694 (1977).
Parrish, D. D. et al. Export of North American ozone pollution ot the North Atlantic Ocean. Science 259, 1436–1439 (1993).
Pueschel, R. J., Boatman, J. F. & Artz, R. S. Aerosols over the western Atlantic: Scale heights, concentrations, and fluxes. Atmos. Environ. 22, 2371–2380 (1988).
Anderson, B. E. et al. The impact of U.S. continental outflow on ozone and aerosol distributions over the Western Atlantic. J. Geophys. Res. 98(D12), 23477–23489 (1993).
Dickerson, R. R., Doddridge, B. G. & Kelley, P. Large-scale pollution of the atmosphere over remote Atlantic Ocean: Evidence from Bermuda. J. Geophys. Res. 100, 8945–8952 (1995).
Cleveland, W. S., Graedel, T. E., Kleiner, B. & Warner, J. L. Sunday and workday variations in photochemical air pollutants in New Jersey and New York. Science 186, 1037–1038 (1974).
Altshuler, S. L., Arcado, T. D. & Lawson, D. R. Weekday vs. weekend ambient ozone concentration: Discussion and hypotheses with focus on Northern California. Journal of Air and Waste Management Association 45, 967–972 (1995).
Saeger, M. et al. The 1985 NAPAP Emissions Inventory (Version 2): Development of the Annual Data and Modelers' Tapes (US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC, (1989)).
Fishman, J. & Seiler, W. Correlative nature of ozone and carbon monoxide in the troposphere: Implications for the tropospheric ozone budget. J. Geophys. Res. 88, 3662 (1983).
Keeping, E. S. Introduction to Statistical Inference (Van Nostrand, Princeton, NJ, (1962)).
Siegel, S. Non-Parametric Statistics (McGraw-Hill, New York, (1956)).
Oltmans, S. J. & Levy, I. H. Seasonal cycle of surface ozone over the western North Atlantic. Nature 358, 392–394 (1992).
Ashworth, J. R. The influence of smoke and hot gases from factory chimneys on rainfall. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 55, 841–850 (1929).
Spencer, R. W. Global oceanic precipitation from the MSU during 1979–1991 and comparisons with other climatologies. J. Clim. 6, 1301–1326 (1993).
Livezey, R. E. & Chen, W. Y. Statistical field significance and its determination by Monte Carlo techniques. Mon. Weath. Rev. 111, 46–59 (1983).
Jarvinen, B. R., Neumann, C. J. & Davis, M. A. S. A Tropical Cyclone Data Tape for the North Atlantic Basin, 1886–1983: Contents, Limitations, and Uses (US Dept of Commerce, NOAA, Weather Service, Natl Hurricane Center, Coral Gables, Florida, (1984)).
Landsea, C. W. Aclimatology of intense (or major) Atlantic hurricanes. Mon. Weath. Rev. 121, 1703–1713 (1993).
Hays, J. D., Imbrie, J. & Shackleton, N. J. Variations in the earth's orbit: Pacemaker to the ice ages. Science 194, 1121–1132 (1976).
Gray, W. M., Frank, W. M., Corrin, M. L. & Stokes, C. A. Weather modification by carbon dust absorption of solar energy. J. Appl. Meteorol. 15, 355–386 (1976).
Gallo, K. P., Tarpley, J. D., McNab, A. L. & Karl, T. R. Assessment of urban heat islands: A satellite perspective. Atmos. Res. 37, 37–43 (1995).
Oke, T. R., Johnson, G. T., Steyn, D. G. & Watson, I. D. Simulation of surface urban heat islands under ‘ideal’ conditions at night, Part 2: diagnosis of causation. Bound. Lay. Meteorol. 36, 339–358 (1991).
Henry, J. A., Dicks, S. E., Wetterquist, O. F. & Roguski, S. J. Comparison of satellite, ground-based, and modeling techniques for analyzing the urban heat island. Photogr. Eng. Remote Sensing 55, 69–76 (1989).
Atkinson, B. W. The effect of an urban area on the precipitation from a moving thunderstorm. J. Appl. Meteorol. 10, 47–55 (1971).
Changnon, S. A. J Recent studies of urban effects on precipitation in the United States. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 50, 411–421 (1969).
We thank D. Parrish for the Canadian pollution data, S. J. Oltmans for the Bermuda ozone data, C. Landsea for the tropical cyclone database, and R. Spencer for the MSU daily precipitation data set.
About this article
Physical Geography (2019)
Impact of typhoon periphery on high ozone and high aerosol pollution in the Pearl River Delta region
Science of The Total Environment (2019)
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (2018)
Theoretical and Applied Climatology (2018)
Insights into the characteristics and sources of primary and secondary organic carbon: High time resolution observation in urban Shanghai
Environmental Pollution (2018)