Scientists have discovered a way to self-purify the earth’s atmosphere

Advertisement · Scroll to continue

(ORDO NEWS) — Humanity emits a lot of pollutants into the atmosphere, but the air envelope of our planet to a certain extent self-purifies itself from them. And now researchers have figured out how she does it.

Every day, tons of pollutants and greenhouse gases enter the Earth‘s atmosphere, which gradually accumulate in the air.

However, at least some of these pollutants react with the hydroxide ion (OH -) in the air, which thereby removes sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other harmful gases from the atmosphere.

Previously, chemists believed that the main catalyst for the reaction, during which hydroxide ions are formed in the atmosphere, is sunlight, or the reaction must proceed in the presence of metals.

However, an international team of researchers from France, the United States, Switzerland, China and Israel found that none of this is really needed: hydroxide ions can be released even in the dark from the purest water.

To understand how this happens, scientists studied the chemical processes in vessels filled with water and air or only water, tracking the formation of hydroxide ions using a special fluorescent substance that emits light when it reacts with the desired ions.

It turned out that both in the light and in the dark, hydroxide ions are formed in vessels with water and air equally quickly, but in vessels with only water, their formation proceeded much more slowly.

Probably, this happens not due to the action of photons of light on water molecules, but under the influence of a weak electric field formed at the interface between air and water, that is, on the surface of water drops.

Since such droplets are ubiquitous in the troposphere , this interfacial source of hydroxide ions should significantly affect air chemistry and quality, climate, and human health.

Now scientists are preparing for experiments in real atmospheres in different parts of the world in order to correct pollution models and estimate the extent of self-purification of the Earth’s air envelope.


Contact us: [email protected]

Our Standards, Terms of Use: Standard Terms And Conditions.

Advertisement · Scroll to continue
Sponsored Content