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The Criegee Biradical – A New Molecule That Could Stop Global Warming

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Saying that you’ve discovered a molecule that could fix global warming is maybe a bit far-fetched. It’s like saying you found a medicine to cure cancer… My point is that it’s not that simple. There is however some truth in it: according to researchers at the University of Bristol and Snadia National Laboratories, the Criegee biradical, easily released by plants, reacts with pollutants in the air to form droplets. These droplets could then gather up to help cool the planet.

Although the existence of these radicals was first announced by Rudolf Criegee in the 1950s, only today did scientists made a concrete step towards verifying it.

To trace the radicals, they used a light 100 times more intense than the Sun’s. The radicals then reacted with nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide to result in nitrate and sulphate. What came out was sulphuric acid, capable of decreasing temperatures (see volcanic eruptions that diminish sunlight).

Maybe people didn’t give much thought about this back in the day because pollution was not that high and global warming wasn’t that pronounced. Today, however, when increasing temperatures trigger higher sea levels at a rate faster than the countermeasures, this track is worth following. Especially since the biradicals don’t cost anything, being a by-product of nature.

However, since the word “sulphuric acid” doesn’t sound quite good, more research has to be put into it to see if it will do the job without side-effects.

[via SmartPlanet]

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