Fog? The chimneys pollute more
Organic aerosol (OA) is a dominant component of atmospheric aerosol worldwide, and it is recognized as a key factor affecting air quality and possibly climate. Observations indicate that more than one-half of the global OA is of secondary origin. Traditional models typically underpredict secondary organic aerosol (SOA) mass, suggesting that a complete knowledge of SOA formation mechanisms is lacking. We show that aqueous-phase processing of biomass-burning emissions contributes to SOA formation. Such aqueous SOA absorbs UV and visible light more efficiently that other OA components. Aqueous chemistry processing of biomass-burning emissions should be taken into account in air quality and climate models for a correct description of the global OA budget and its climate-relevant optical properties.
"The fine particles, or atmospheric aerosols, are a threat to human health: in Italy they are responsible for a reduction of more than one year of life expectancy, while in Europe, they are causing more than 300,000 deaths per year," explains Stefania Gilardoni ISAC-CNR, among the authors of the study. "The organic aerosols constitutes more than 50% of fine particles. It is therefore a decisive factor in air quality and climate; experimental observations indicate that more than half comes from secondary origin, ie produced and released into the atmosphere by physical and chemical processes still mostly unknown since still under research."
Read the full press release on CNR site at:
Direct observation of aqueous secondary organic aerosol from biomass burning emissions, Published on: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences