Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Pollution curbs 'may increase temperatures'

Car exhaust outlet Image copyright Getty Images

Heatwaves could be made more severe by measures to reduce air pollution, according to research at the University of Edinburgh.

Scientists used a computerised model to mimic the impact of tiny man-made particles in the atmosphere.

They concluded that cutting pollution could disrupt the formation of clouds which reflect heat from the sun back into space.

Prof David Stevenson said it underlined the need for "smart" pollution control.

The research, published in Geophysical Research Letters, suggests peak daytime temperatures could increase.

It predicts the northern hemisphere could be more likely to be affected because of widespread efforts to improve poor air quality.

Prof Stevenson, a specialist in atmospheric chemistry modelling, said: "We desperately need to improve air quality.

"However, our results suggest that in doing so, we may inadvertently worsen heatwaves.

"Air pollution and climate change are inextricably linked and we need to develop smart pollution control policies that take these links into account."