Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bioaerosols: New element in climate mystery

15.10.2004


Parisa Ariya’s accidental discovery of the power of bioaerosols to generate rapid and dramatic chemical reactions may change – at the very least alter – the course of climate science.



Ariya, a professor at McGill University’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, in Montreal (Canada), first made her observation in August 2001, after one of her postdoctoral fellows forgot to close the valve sealing the reaction chamber where an organic compound (containing carbon, oxygen and/or hydrogen) was reacting with ozone (the form of oxygen in the stratosphere that filters out ultraviolet radiation).

By Monday, the organic compound was gone, and several new peaks in the frequency regions for carbohydrates and proteins were found. A sludge had formed on the glass walls of the chamber. What was it? Ariya deduced that airborne micro-organisms in the laboratory had found their way into the chamber, consumed the organic compound and produced new aerosols in their reaction both with the compound and the ozone.


Something told Ariya that such reactions, which would take place all the time in the natural world – given that there are always bioaerosols, living or dead organic compounds in the air, such as dust, bacteria, pollen, leaf dust, viruses – might be significant in understanding climate and climate change. "Fortunately, we didn’t discard it and I was crazy enough to pursue further experiments," recalls Ariya. "What tipped me to the importance of this accident was the speed and efficiency of the chemical reactions."

Since beginning her research, Ariya has found that similar to inorganic aerosols, (such as volcanic dust), bioaerosols are capable of forming clouds. She’s examining the role they play in the interfaces between snow and air, snow and water and fog and clouds. She notes that bioaerosols were long suggested to play a role as ice nuclei for cloud formation, yet their impact on driving chemistry and impact of chemical reactions on physics of atmosphere were not considered.

What’s most significant about Ariya’s work is how, until now, no scientist has included bioaerosols in climate research because their numbers were considered insignificant as compared to inorganic aerosols.

Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mcgill.ca

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Climate change weakens Walker circulation
20.10.2017 | MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften an der Universität Bremen

nachricht Shallow soils promote savannas in South America
20.10.2017 | Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseen

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>