Scientists have discovered how organic aerosols transform in the atmosphere. This will allow them to better understand and predict the impact of these changes on the environment and the climate. The journal ‘Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics published the findings.
Organic aerosols are molecule particles that are released during cooking. Because of the nanostructures created by fatty acid as they are released into air, they can stay in the atmosphere for several hours. Experts from the Universities of Birmingham, Bath and Oxford used instruments at the Diamond Light Source (and the Central Laser Facility) to study the behavior of thin films of unsaturated fatty acids, oleic acid. This is commonly released during cooking.
Scientists were able analyse the molecular characteristics that control the rate atwhich aerosol emissions can be reduced in the atmosphere. The team then used experimental data and a theoretical model in order to predict how many times aerosols from cooking might remain in the environment.
These aerosols have been associated for years with poor air quality in urban areas. However it is difficult to determine their impact on human-made global climate change. This is due to the wide range of molecules in aerosols and their varied interactions with the environment. It is possible to model the transport and dispersion of organic aerosols by identifying the nanostructures of molecules that are emitted during cooking.
Dr Christian Pfrang, University of Birmingham’s School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, is the lead author. He stated that cooking aerosols are responsible for as much as 10% of UK’s particulate matter (PM). Their behavior can be predicted accurately, which will allow us to better assess their contribution to climate changes. Dr Adam Squires from the University of Bath was co-author. He said, “We are increasingly discovering how molecules such as fatty acids can organize themselves into bilayers or other regular shapes and stacks inside aerosol droplets that floated in the air. This completely changes how fast and how long they persist within the atmosphere and how they affect pollution, weather, and weather.” (ANI)
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