By MICHAEL CAMPBELL and RICHARD BOGERLEINNEW YORK, NY, August 25, 2017 — Beta oxidation is an important source of CO 2 and has been associated with increasing concentrations of carbon monoxide in the air.
Now, researchers have identified how beta oxidation occurs and the role it plays in carbon dioxide buildup in the stratosphere.
The researchers found that beta-oxidation in the Earth’s atmosphere can play a key role in CO 2 buildup in stratospheric clouds.
This is because it helps to form clouds of carbon-dioxide gas.
Beta-oxidants can also be detected in the clouds by the absorption of ultraviolet light by ozone molecules.
The researchers report their results in the journal Nature Communications.
“We’re not saying we’ve solved all the mysteries of CO2,” said lead author and research scientist David Gavrilovic, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Leipzig, Germany.
“We have some things that are well known.”
The research is the first to look for beta-oxygen in clouds of CO-2 gas.
This process is triggered by changes in the concentrations of oxygen atoms in clouds, which can be triggered by a number of factors, including volcanic eruptions.
The new work used data from satellites that collect weather data in Earth orbit, to look at beta-ooxygen concentrations in stratosphere clouds and their influence on cloud formation.
“The cloud formation process is very similar to a fire-driven process, but we found that there is a lot of oxygen in the cloud,” said co-author and professor of atmospheric sciences and Earth sciences at Duke University Nicholas Gomes, also of the Max-Planck Institute.
“This is a key part of cloud formation,” he said.
Gomes, who is also a member of the University of Florida’s Cloud Dynamics and Aerodynamics Laboratory, is a member for the National Academy of Sciences and a member a research team at the University for Advanced Concepts (AUDC).
He said this is the most comprehensive study to date of beta- oxidation in stratocumulus clouds.
The team analyzed the activity of a type of cloud that is typically formed in the troposphere and has a higher amount of CO in it than the other types of clouds in Earth’s stratosphere, such as stratocumsulus.
Gomes and co-authors looked at beta oxidation and how it affects cloud formation and how that affects cloud thickness.
The research team found that the beta-OXN-4, a carbon-containing molecule that forms in clouds and is a component of many air molecules, is most abundant in the form of carbonated water, which has a pH of 4.0.
Beta oxidation, in turn, decreases the ability of these carbonated particles to bind to each other, thus increasing their mass.
This results in more cloud nuclei, which leads to higher concentrations of beta oxides and a greater concentration of CO.
“A lot of what you think is a normal cloud is really more of a carbonated cloud, so this is a very good example of why cloud nucleation is so important,” Gomes said.
“In a normal stratospherically-clouded atmosphere, beta oxidation would be a key contributor to the cloud formation that would increase cloud thickness,” Gavilanovic said.
“Instead, in the very dense cloud systems that exist in Earth, beta-oxide production increases cloud formation, which is a big driver for the formation of stratospheres.”
The researchers also found that high beta oxidation also increases cloud droplet diameter and density, which results in lower cloud density.
These results indicate that higher beta oxidation, which increases cloud density, also increases the amount of beta oxidants in the vapor.
This process also causes more clouds to form and decrease the number of clouds, decreasing the amount and size of clouds that can form in the sky.
The process also decreases cloud droplets, which could be a sign of clouds being overburdened and therefore less able to form.
“There is a mechanism by which clouds form, and this mechanism has some connection to the formation and distribution of CO,” Gavisilovic said, noting that the amount in the particles and their size are important in determining how much CO can form.
Beta-oxidity, as Gavilovic described it, is “not necessarily bad, but it’s not the same as a pollutant.”
Gavilanov explained that clouds of cloud nucleates can be very dense, meaning they are highly permeable.
In addition, these particles are relatively free of oxygen.
However, the large concentration of beta in clouds could cause these particles to absorb a lot more oxygen, resulting in a smaller volume of vapor.
“What’s really interesting is that these clouds of clouds do not just accumulate CO, but they also have a significant impact on cloud droppings,” Gavin said.
He added that clouds have a large amount of organic