Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




BLUE SKY
Tiny airborne pollutants lead double life
by Staff Writers
Vancouver, Canada (SPX) Aug 02, 2012


The air in most urban environments contains particles that are mixtures of organic molecules and chemicals like sulfates. When examined, samples from Atlanta revealed distinct liquid phases that were qualitatively similar to idealized particles generated in the laboratory. The liquid-liquid phase separation occurs naturally.

University of British Columbia and Harvard researchers have provided visual evidence that atmospheric particles--which are ubiquitous in the atmosphere, especially above densely populated areas--separate into distinct chemical compositions during their life cycle.

The observations could have important implications for modelling global climate change and predicting air quality conditions. The tiny particles, which form part of an airborne chemical mix above cities, play a role in pollution by providing a surface for chemical reactions and in climate by reflecting and absorbing solar radiation and by acting as seed surfaces for water condensation and cloud formation.

"We've confirmed experimentally that changes in relative humidity can separate the organic and inorganic material in individual atmospheric particles into distinct liquid phases, much like oil separates from water," says UBC professor Allan Bertram, Director of the collaborative research and training program on atmospheric aerosols at UBC and a principal investigator on the paper.

"Having two liquid phases rather than one can change the rates of chemical reactions on particles, may change the amount of light the particles reflect and absorb, and impact their ability to act as seeds for clouds."

The findings--which used air samples from Atlanta, Georgia, the Harvard Environmental Chamber, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Environmental Chamber--are to published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences next week.

"I think of it as the beautiful phenomenon when I mixed food coloring, water and vegetable oil in a bottle when I was in grade school," says Harvard researcher Scot Martin, Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Chemistry at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

"More to the point, this phenomenon is really new thinking in the atmospheric sciences, and it completely changes the way we need to think through the reactive chemistry of atmospheric particles, a key component of urban air quality."

The air in most urban environments contains particles that are mixtures of organic molecules and chemicals like sulfates. When examined, samples from Atlanta revealed distinct liquid phases that were qualitatively similar to idealized particles generated in the laboratory. The liquid-liquid phase separation occurs naturally.

Particulate air pollution is a relatively new area of study, but one of growing concern to researchers, health officials and environmental groups. Increases in the concentration of aerosols are correlated with increased health issues, including cardiopulmonary disorders.

"We need to understand as much as possible about the chemical composition, physical properties and interactions of atmospheric particles if we're going to assess how they impact human health, regional weather patterns, and even global climate change," notes Bertram, with the Department of Chemistry.

The research was partly funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada through the Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program. CREATE supports the training of teams of highly qualified students and postdoctoral fellows from Canada and abroad through the development of innovative training programs.

.


Related Links
University of British Columbia
The Air We Breathe at TerraDaily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





BLUE SKY
Methane measurements at low level flight
Munich, Germany (SPX) Jul 31, 2012
A team of scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association (AWI) and the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences has just completed an airborne measurement campaign that allowed for the first time to measure large-scale methane emissions from the extensive Arctic permafrost landscapes. The study area extended from Barrow, the northe ... read more


BLUE SKY
Queen, politicians, Nobel winner named to UN social panel

Sri Lanka navy urges Australia to deport boatpeople

Samurai festival returns to disaster-hit Japan

UNHCR official to visit Rakhine state

BLUE SKY
From Microns to Centimeters

Raytheon awarded contract to advance Dual Band Radar development

Apple extends gains in surging tablet market: survey

Apple asks for verdict after Samsung 'misconduct'

BLUE SKY
France's Veolia boosts cost cutting, stock tumbles

Earth absorbs more of our CO2 emissions: science

Spillways can divert sand from river to rebuild wetlands

Coral reef thriving in sediment-laden waters

BLUE SKY
Researchers analyze melting glaciers and water resources in Central Asia

Who owns the North Pole?

China to build first polar-expedition icebreaker

Hidden rift valley discovered beneath West Antarctica reveals new insight into ice loss

BLUE SKY
UCLA research makes possible rapid assessment of plant drought tolerance

Parched fields as drought devastates US crops

Public strongly supports programs helping farmers adapt to climate change

Study: All chickens have Asian roots

BLUE SKY
Six dead as Typhoon Saola lashes Taiwan

N. Koreans urgently need drinking water after floods: UN

Philippine floods persist, toll rises to 23

Typhoon Saola makes landfall in Taiwan

BLUE SKY
Mali wives prevent loyalist soldiers' arrest

Panetta to visit North Africa, Middle East

Brother of exiled Rwandan ex-army chief gets 9 years' jail

Mozambique told to tackle crime

BLUE SKY
Modern culture 44,000 years ago

Hey, I'm over here: Men and women see things differently

Piglets in mazes provide insights into human cognitive development

Genomic study of Africa's hunter-gatherers elucidates human variation and ancient interbreeding




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement