An international team led by researchers at the University of Copenhagen has detected a new class of extremely reactive chemical compounds in tha atmpsphere, the 'trioxides'. The challenge now is to understand the role of trioxides in climate and air quality. The result is presented in Science.
Reaction: ROO + OH → ROOOH (oxygen atoms in red)
CSIC Research Professor at the Instituto de Diagnóstico Ambiental y Estudios del Agua (IDAEA), CSIC.
It is a very important study that may help to better understand the formation of tropospheric ozone and secondary aerosols (those formed in the atmosphere from precursor gases). As the authors say, the effects and their quantitative impact on these processes will undoubtedly be evaluated in future studies.
Trioxides and other oxidising radicals are types of compounds that, precisely because they are so reactive, last only a very short time in the atmosphere [in some cases fractions of a second]. This is why the formation of trioxides has not been demonstrated until now, although it was suggested that they could occur. Detecting them will help us understand aspects of tropospheric ozone and secondary aerosol formation that are not well understood. But we do not yet know the quantitative implications for climate and air quality. It will be important to clarify this.
- Research article
- Peer reviewed
- Experimental study