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Finding a "dangerous substance" in the clouds.. What is its effect on the climate?

28.09.2023 05:33 AM
Finding a "dangerous substance" in the clouds.. What is its effect on the climate?
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Finding a "dangerous substance" in the clouds.. What is its effect on the climate?

Sky News reported that researchers in Japan have confirmed that they have found micro plastic particles in the clouds, and their presence could lead to climate change in ways that are not yet clear.

Scientists went to Mount Fuji and Aoyama to collect water coming from the clouds surrounding their peaks, as part of a study published in the journal Environmental Chemistry Letters.

“To our knowledge, this is the first time the presence of micro plastics suspended in cloud water has been confirmed,” the scientists wrote in their study.

Using advanced imaging techniques, the researchers detected 9 different types of polymers and one rubber in micro plastics found in the atmosphere, which range in size from 7.1 to 94.6 micrometers.

Scientists have found a large number of polymers that love or attract water, indicating a possible role in cloud formation and thus climate.

“If we do not proactively address the problem of plastic air pollution, changes in climate and environmental risks could become a reality, causing serious and irreversible environmental damage in the future,” study lead author Hiroshi Okoshi said in a statement Wednesday.

Hiroshi Okoshi explained that micro plastics decompose, releasing quantities of greenhouse gases and contributing to climate change when they reach the upper part of the atmosphere and are exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun.

Micro plastics, defined as particles smaller than 5 millimeters, come from industrial waste, textiles, car tires or personal care products.

These tiny fragments are found in the Arctic ice mass, in the snow of the Pyrenees, and in living organisms in the four corners of the planet.

However, the way in which these particles are transported to these places is still relatively unknown, and there is only little research available on how they are transported into the atmosphere in particular.

There is also still insufficient data regarding the health effects of exposure to micro plastic particles, but studies are beginning to indicate a link to some diseases, in addition to their environmental consequences.

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