Glassy solid particles can facilitate long-distance atmospheric transport of hazardous organic pollutants
Secondary organic aerosols (SOA) are formed upon oxidation of volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere. They account for a large fraction of fine particulate matter and have a strong influence on regional and global air quality.
Organic particles are ubiquitous in air pollution. The new study reveals when and where these particles are liquid, viscous or solid. The picture shows an extreme haze event over Beijing and others cities in China in January 2013.
Source: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response
This chart shows how the phase state of secondary organic aerosols changes depending on altitude and temperature. Whether the particles are liquid, semisolid (viscous) or solid (glassy) has strong implications for their chemical fate, long-range transport and their influence on the formation on clouds.
Source: Manabu Shiraiwa
Traditionally, SOA particles were assumed to be oily liquid droplets. Depending on chemical composition, temperature, and humidity, however, SOA particles can also adopt a glassy solid phase state, as revealed in recent studies. Whether the particles are liquid or solid makes a big difference for how they interact with clouds and trace gases and how they can influence climate and public health.
So far, however, it was unclear if and where in the atmosphere SOA particles are liquid or solid. A new study of an international team of scientists including researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz and the University of California in Irvine, USA, provides insight into the global distribution of organic particle phase state in the atmosphere.
“We found out? that SOA particles are mostly liquid near the Earth’s surface, and glassy in the rest of the atmosphere”, explains Manabu Shiraiwa, first author of the study recently published in the Open Access journal “Nature Communications”. Shiraiwa, a former group leader at the MPI for Chemistry in Mainz, works now as an Assistant Professor at the Chemistry Department at the University of California, Irvine.
Glassy SOA particles can shelter organic pollutants from degradation by atmospheric oxidants, which explains why high concentrations of such pollutants are observed not only close to anthropogenic sources but also in remote marine and polar regions.
Whether SOA particles are glassy or liquid, however, depends strongly on their chemical composition and on ambient temperature, and relative humidity. Accordingly, the molecular composition and related physicochemical properties of SOA need to be known for a reliable assessment of particle phase state and effects, but they were not well constrained in earlier studies.
“For the first time, we could implement a sophisticated molecular description of the physical and chemical properties of SOA particles in a state-of-the-art global model to compute the spatial and temporal variability of SOA phase state in the atmosphere”, says Ulrich Pöschl, director of the Multiphase Chemistry Department at the MPI for Chemistry. Jos Lelieveld, director of the Atmospheric Chemistry Department at the Mainz´ institute, adds that “further studies are planned to quantify the effects of SOA phase state on clouds, climate, air quality and public health”.
“Global distribution of particle phase state in atmospheric secondary organic aerosols”: Manabu Shiraiwa, Ying Li, Alexandra P. Tsimpidi, Vlassis A. Karydis, Thomas Berkemeier, Spyros N. Pandis, Jos Lelieveld, Thomas Koop, Ulrich Pöschl, Nature Communications 2017, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15002
Prof. Dr. Manabu Shiraiwa
Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Pöschl
Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz
Director, Multiphase Chemistry Department
Phone: +49(0)6131 305 7000
Prof. Dr. Jos Lelieveld
Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
Director, Atmospheric Chemistry Department
Phone: +49-6131-305 4000
Dr. Susanne Benner | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie
North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich
Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein
22.03.2018 | Universität Basel
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News
22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences