Feeds

Pollution-gobbling molecules in global warming SMACKDOWN

Boffins: Newly observed particles scrub our filthy air

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Elusive pollution-busting molecules are scrubbing our planet's atmosphere at a much faster rate than first imagined, according to gas-bothering boffins.

Reactions by the cleaning agents, known as Criegee intermediates, are also emitting a by-product that forms solar radiation-reflecting clouds that could help cool Earth and reduce the effects of global warming.

The Criegee biradicals were first hypothesised in the 1950s by German chemist Rudolf Criegee, but only now have they been recreated in a lab and directly measured for the first time. Specifically, the scientists took formaldehyde oxide – a species of Creigee intermediate – and observed it reacting with sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.

These dioxides are said to initiate climate change in our atmosphere, yet it's now understood they are removed from the troposphere by helpful Criegee biradicals – described as pivotal atmospheric reactants. The reaction also spews sulphate and nitrate into the atmosphere, creating aerosol droplets that seed planet-cooling clouds.

The rate of compound conversion is much higher than the boffins expected, leading them to conclude that the biradicals may have a greater impact on our climate than previously thought. The production of Earth's short-lived Criegee biradical stocks are fuelled by the combination of ozone and chemicals released naturally by plants.

The intermediates, otherwise known as carbonyl oxide biradicals, were spotted by researchers from Sandia's Combustion Research Facility, the University of Manchester and Bristol University. The eggheads used a particle accelerator at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the US to observe the process using photoionisation mass spectrometry - there's a video describing their work here.

Criegee intermediates react in lab conditions

"We have been able to quantify how fast Criegee radicals react for the first time. Our results will have a significant impact on our understanding of the oxidising capacity of the atmosphere and have wide ranging implications for pollution and climate change," said project chief Dr Carl Percival of the University of Manchester.

The University of Bristol's Professor Dudley Shallcross, who co-wrote the paper, added: "Natural ecosystems could be playing a significant role in off-setting global warming."

The scientists' paper, Direct Kinetic Measurements of Criegee Intermediate (CH2OO) Formed by Reaction of CH2I with O2, was published in the latest issue of Science. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.