A Caltech Library Service

Determinant Role of Aerosols From Industrial Sources in Hurricane Harvey's Catastrophe

Pan, Bowen and Wang, Yuan and Logan, Timothy and Hsieh, Jen‐Shan and Jiang, Jonathan H. and Li, Yixin and Zhang, Renyi (2020) Determinant Role of Aerosols From Industrial Sources in Hurricane Harvey's Catastrophe. Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (23). Art. No. e2020GL090014. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1029/2020gl090014.

[img] PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] MS Word - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The destructive power of tropical cyclones is driven by latent heat released from water condensation and is inevitably linked to the abundance of aerosols as cloud condensation nuclei. However, the aerosol effects are unaccounted for in most operational hurricane forecast models. We combined multisource measurements and cloud‐resolving model simulations to show fundamentally altered cloud microphysical and thermodynamic processes by anthropogenic aerosols during Hurricane Harvey. Our observational analyses reveal intense lightning and precipitation in the proximity of Houston industrial areas, and these hot spots exhibit a striking geographic similarity to a climatological maximum of lightning flash density in the south‐central United States. Our ensemble cloud‐resolving simulations of Hurricane Harvey indicate that aerosols increase precipitation and lightning by a factor of 2 in the Houston urban area, unraveling the key anthropogenic factor in regulating flooding during this weather extreme.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemGridded NEXRAD WSR-88D radar data ItemStage IV NCEP/EMC 4 km gridded precipitation data ItemNational Emission Inventory data ItemPower plants and petrochemical refineries information
https://www.bou.class.noaa.govRelated ItemGOES-R Series Global Lightning Mapper data ItemWRF model simulation output ItemCode of WRF model used
Pan, Bowen0000-0002-4617-5936
Wang, Yuan0000-0001-6657-8401
Logan, Timothy0000-0003-2648-1749
Jiang, Jonathan H.0000-0002-5929-8951
Zhang, Renyi0000-0001-8708-3862
Additional Information:© 2020 American Geophysical Union. Issue Online: 28 November 2020; Version of Record online: 28 November 2020; Accepted manuscript online: 20 November 2020; Manuscript accepted: 15 November 2020; Manuscript revised: 14 September 2020; Manuscript received: 23 July 2020. We were grateful to M. Minamide for providing the satellite data assimilated WRF runs and C. R. Homeyer for accessing the radar reflectivity data. B. P. was supported by a NASA graduate fellowship in Earth Science. Y. W. and J. H. J. acknowledged the support of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with NASA. Additional support was provided by the Welch A. Foundation (A‐1417) and National Science Foundation AGS‐1700727 grants. We also acknowledge the computational support from the Texas A&M High Performance Research Computing (HPRC) facility and appreciate Ping Luo from the Texas A&M HPRC facility for her help on the model setup. Data Availability Statement: Gridded NEXRAD WSR‐88D Radar Data can be accessed online (at The Stage IV NCEP/EMC 4 km Gridded precipitation data can be downloaded at EOL website ( The National Emission Inventory data can be found at the U.S. EPA website (‐emissions‐inventories/2011‐national‐emissions‐inventory‐nei‐data). The power plants and petrochemical refineries information can be found at the U.S. EIA website (‐m.php). The GOES‐R Series Global Lightning Mapper data are available at the NOAA CLAss website ( All the WRF model simulation output used for this research can be downloaded from the Caltech website (‐2020‐GRL‐Harvey). The code of WRF model used in this study is available online (at All requests for materials in this paper should be addressed to Yuan Wang (
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Earth System Science FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Robert A. Welch FoundationA-1417
Subject Keywords:aerosol; precipitation; microphysics; hurricane; lightning
Issue or Number:23
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20201123-124233984
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Pan, B., Wang, Y., Logan, T., Hsieh, J.‐S., Jiang, J. H., Li, Y., & Zhang, R. (2020). Determinant role of aerosols from industrial sources in Hurricane Harvey's catastrophe. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL090014.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:106785
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:23 Nov 2020 23:48
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:56

Repository Staff Only: item control page