When Aerosols Age
Natural and anthropogenic substances that enter the atmosphere react with each other and form minute particles known as aerosols. The reaction with hydroxyl radicals (OH radicals) plays an important part In this process. The OH radical, termed the “detergent of the atmosphere”, is the most important oxidant and its concentration determines the self-cleaning ability of the atmosphere. Jülich scientists are involved in an international research team who have discovered that the reaction with OH radicals also leads to ageing in aerosols of biogenic origin. The consequence is that more aerosols are formed and the atmosphere is thus more heavily polluted. The findings have now been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).