aerosol study

I came across this article that reveals a possibility of countering the natural aerosol emissions with man-made ones. The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was conducted by Professor Sally Ng from the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, her students, as well as researchers from institutions throughout the Southeast. The natural emissions from trees that undergo oxidation to form aerosols and they can then interact with the anthropogenic emissions, eventually releasing even more aerosols in the environment.

The study then suggests a solution to this problem by using the knowledge of a strong correlation between aerosols and carbon monoxide (a man-made emission) as well as the fact that most aerosols originate from organic sources rather than directly from vehicles and industries. In the paper, they explain “the chemical mechanisms by which man-made pollutants cause greater production of organic aerosols, effectively solving the paradox” (Marino, 2015).

Such studies on pollutants are particularly important for understanding the climate and human health at a greater depth. Aerosols can be beneficial in cooling our environment, especially with global warming today, but it is seen as harmful according to the World Health Organization because it is classified as carcinogenic. This demonstrates that there is a trade-off when using aerosols to counter the effects of global warming since it may cause more damage to human health.

Even though we should not be too complacent and must still recognize the fact that anthropogenic emissions of aerosols have greatly distorted the mechanisms of natural emissions today. This thus creates an imbalance that we should aim to remove, as mentioned in my first blog post. There is always a threshold for all things and I strongly feel that once that threshold is crossed, the ability to live comfortably as before would be compromised.

References
Marino, K. (2015). Professor Ng presents new aerosol study. Technique. Retrieved 22 January 2015, from http://nique.net/life/2015/01/09/professor-ng-presents-new-aerosol-study/