(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists from Pennsylvania State University have found that the leaves and needles of plants sparkle with electricity during thunderstorms, and this process affects air quality.
The researchers recreated the electric fields from thunderstorms in the lab and analyzed the charges generated in the leaves and needles of eight different plants.
It turned out that all of them stimulated the formation of a large number of radicals – substances that easily enter into chemical reactions.
The researchers were particularly interested in the concentrations of hydroxyl radicals, as they have a greater impact on air quality, neutralizing many air pollutants.
The hydroxyl radical can react with greenhouse gases, including methane, thereby preventing its accumulation in the atmosphere.
But if the same radical reacts with oxygen, it can form ozone, which, despite playing an important role in protecting the Earth from UV radiation, is toxic to humans in large quantities.
In addition: Radicals can also create aerosol particles that degrade air quality.
At the same time, in areas where thunderstorms are most likely, about two trillion trees grow, and at any given time there are 1800 thunderstorms.
The researchers want to continue their work to understand how thunderstorms and trees affect local and global air quality.
Contact us: [email protected]