Professor Renyi Zhang published his work in the June 11 issue of Science magazine, summarizing recent findings and new research directions that could pave the way for a better understanding of aerosol formation.
"Aerosols, also referred to as haze, influence climate by absorbing and reflecting solar radiation and modifying cloud formation," he explains. "A better understanding of how aerosols form in the atmosphere will greatly improve climate models.
"But, formation of aerosols in the atmosphere is not fully understood, particularly at the molecular level, creating one of the largest sources of uncertainty in climate predictions," he adds.
For aerosols to form, the bonding particles must cross an energy threshold, which the scientists call nucleation barrier. Once the barrier is crossed, aerosol formation can happen spontaneously, he notes.
The interaction between organic acids and sulfuric acid can facilitate the crossing of the barrier by creating a critical nucleus, the Texas A&M professor says in the Science article.
Large amounts of organic gases are emitted to the atmosphere by plants, industry and automobiles and form organic acids; sulfur dioxide, on the other hand, are produced by human activities, such as burning coals, and then form sulfuric acid.
To better understand aerosol formation, scientists need to predict the nucleation rate based on knowledge of the composition of the critical nucleus, Zhang explains.
This knowledge can be obtained by combining theoretical approaches with "measurements of the size and chemical composition of freshly nucleated nanoparticles in the laboratory and in the field," Zhang notes.
Understanding and eventually controlling aerosol formation may help the environment, benefit human health and improve climate prediction, he says.
About research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is in the vanguard in making significant contributions to the storehouse of knowledge, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represents an annual investment of more than $582 million, which ranks third nationally for universities without a medical school, and underwrites approximately 3,500 sponsored projects. That research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting in many cases in economic benefits to the state, nation and world.
Contact: Keith Randall, News & Information Services, at (979) 845-4644 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Miao Jingang, News & Information Services, at email@example.com or Renyi Zhang at (979) 845-7656 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keith Randall | EurekAlert!
Arctic melt ponds form when meltwater clogs ice pores
24.01.2017 | University of Utah
New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine