(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have figured out the chemical mechanism by which iodine particles are formed in the atmosphere and then participate in the formation of clouds and the destruction of the ozone layer.
The amount of iodine in the atmosphere has tripled over the past 70 years. Most of it comes from the oceans, in which it is present in the form of salts – iodides.
The increase in the entry of this element into the atmosphere is associated with anthropogenic air pollution, since iodides in the seas react with harmful substances in its composition, turning into a volatile form.
Just a few years ago, scientists found that iodine, reaching the stratosphere, destroys the ozone shield that protects the Earth from ultraviolet radiation.
Therefore, it was important for scientists to understand exactly how iodine particles are formed in the atmosphere.
An international research group based at CERN has conducted experiments on the formation of iodine particles in the atmosphere.
It turned out that this chemical element does not require any “auxiliary” molecules to form atmospheric particles.
This suggests that new particles can be formed not only in places where there are available sources of iodine, for example, on the coasts of the seas, but also in the entire atmosphere.
Since human activities inevitably lead to a deterioration in air quality and thereby increase the availability of iodine, exposure to this element can be long-term.
As the ice in the Arctic melts, more iodine will enter the atmosphere, causing more cloud cover and more warming in the region, as well as accelerated ozone depletion.
“We still need to better understand the chemistry of the transformations that occur with iodine compounds.
But now, knowing the source of these molecules in the atmosphere, we are one step closer to understanding how excess iodine affects the formation of clouds and the ozone layer in our planet’s atmosphere, ”comments Rainer Volkamer, one of the authors of the article, a professor of chemistry at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
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