The online journal 'Nature' today saw the publication of a new research concerning the chemical reactions constantly taking place in our planet's atmosphere.
This latest study into global weather patterns and health conditions caused by air chemistry informs us that a newly-discovered chemical compound can be linked to acid rain, cloud formation and negative effects on the human respiratory system.
The researchers who stumbled upon this new atmospheric chemical compound now claim that said compound is in fact a type of carbonyl oxide, which can easily enter a reaction with sulfur dioxide and cause sulfuric acid to build up in our atmosphere.
In turn, this leads to acid rain and breathing issues for humans.
Reporting on these findings, the University of Colorado Boulder's news room
states that this newly-found chemical compound is produced by a chemical interaction between ozone and alkenes, with the latter being both naturally-occurring in the environment, and man-made.
Working in the laboratory, the scientists put together samples of ozone, alkenes and sulfur dioxide in the same test tube and found that the first two started off by interacting with one another, and then bonded with sulfur dioxide in order to produce sulfuric acid.
Although the presence of sulfuric acid particles in the air can somewhat cool off the planet, as they lead to the formation of considerably larger clouds, the fact remains that these chemical compounds are known to cause significant health issues in humans, especially when it comes to the wellbeing of our respiratory systems.
“We have discovered a new and important, atmospherically relevant oxidant. Sulfuric acid plays an essential role in Earth’s atmosphere, from the ecological impacts of acid precipitation to the formation of new aerosol particles, which have significant climatic and health effects. Our findings demonstrate a newly observed connection between the biosphere and atmospheric chemistry,” said specialist Roy Mauldin.