Japanese researchers are investigating the path of airborne microplastics (AMP) as they circulate in the biosphere, which negatively affects human health and the climate.
To investigate the role of these small plastic particles in the troposphere and atmospheric boundary layer, the team collected water from the clouds at the top of Mount Fuji, the southeastern foot of Mount Fuji (Tarobo), and the summit of Mt. Oyama: regions with altitudes. from 1300 and 3776 meters.
Using advanced techniques such as attenuated total reflection imaging and micro-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, researchers led by Hiroshi Okochi, a professor at Waseda University, determined the presence of microplastics in cloud water and analyzed their physical properties. properties and chemicals.
They identified nine different types of polymers and one type of rubber among the AMP findings. In particular, most of the polypropylene found in the samples was damaged and contained carbonyl (C=O) and/or hydroxyl (OH) groups. The Feret diameters of these AMPs range from 7.1 to 94.6 picometers, the smallest observed in the free troposphere. In addition, the presence of hydrophilic (water-loving) polymers in cloud water is abundant, suggesting that they are taken as “cloud condensation nuclei.” These findings confirm that AMPs play an important role in the rapid formation of clouds, which ultimately affects the overall climate.
The accumulation of AMPs in the atmosphere, especially in the polar regions, can cause major changes in the ecological balance of the planet, causing severe loss of biodiversity.
Okochi concluded by saying in a statement that “AMPs degrade the upper atmosphere faster than Earth’s due to strong ultraviolet radiation, and this degradation releases greenhouse gases and contributes to warming As a result, the findings of “This study can be used to consider the effects of MPA in future estimates of global warming.”