If you hadn’t heard, there was a new molecule unearthed in a new way with the huge potential of curbing the global heating of the planet.
German chemist Rudolf Criegee is being credited with fathering the identification of these molecules, and big advancements have been made today, 40 years after his death.
In 1949, Criegee proposed that biradicals, or reactive molecules missing two chemical bonds, could form with the reaction of ozone and hydrocarbons (i.e. alkenes). Criegee presumed that these biradicals would play a substantial role in both removing pollutants from the lower atmosphere through oxidation and producing secondary organic aerosols. These secondary aerosols come from the reactions of atmospheric gases versus primary aerosols which come from such subtle sources as sea spray and wind-blown dust.
These molecules have been coined ‘Criegee Biradicals,’ which are short-lived molecules that actually form naturally in the Earth’s atmosphere. This occurs when ozone reacts with alkenes.
Researchers recently utilized a new method to create these Criegee intermediates in a lab. This big step enabled them to test these intermediates by combining them with various atmospheric compounds.
Scientists found that the reactions with the pollutants produced aerosols. These aerosols are tiny particles that reflect solar radiation back into space! And it happens in a quicker manner than ever thought possible!
These particles are invisible to the eye, so it’s difficult to say just how many are out there, and just how many are formed at a particular time. Whether or not you believe in global warming or not, this news is exciting in that humans have the capability to create molecules that will shift global temperatures! How do you feel about this news, and the controversial topic of global warming?
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