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Concept: Sulfuric acid


Injecting sulfate aerosol into the stratosphere, the most frequently analyzed proposal for solar geoengineering, may reduce some climate risks, but it would also entail new risks, including ozone loss and heating of the lower tropical stratosphere, which, in turn, would increase water vapor concentration causing additional ozone loss and surface warming. We propose a method for stratospheric aerosol climate modification that uses a solid aerosol composed of alkaline metal salts that will convert hydrogen halides and nitric and sulfuric acids into stable salts to enable stratospheric geoengineering while reducing or reversing ozone depletion. Rather than minimizing reactive effects by reducing surface area using high refractive index materials, this method tailors the chemical reactivity. Specifically, we calculate that injection of calcite (CaCO3) aerosol particles might reduce net radiative forcing while simultaneously increasing column ozone toward its preanthropogenic baseline. A radiative forcing of -1 W⋅m(-2), for example, might be achieved with a simultaneous 3.8% increase in column ozone using 2.1 Tg⋅y(-1) of 275-nm radius calcite aerosol. Moreover, the radiative heating of the lower stratosphere would be roughly 10-fold less than if that same radiative forcing had been produced using sulfate aerosol. Although solar geoengineering cannot substitute for emissions cuts, it may supplement them by reducing some of the risks of climate change. Further research on this and similar methods could lead to reductions in risks and improved efficacy of solar geoengineering methods.

Concepts: Water, Refractive index, Climate change, Ozone depletion, Sulfuric acid, Sulfate, Greenhouse gas, Global warming


China has recently made available hourly air pollution data from over 1500 sites, including airborne particulate matter (PM), SO2, NO2, and O3. We apply Kriging interpolation to four months of data to derive pollution maps for eastern China. Consistent with prior findings, the greatest pollution occurs in the east, but significant levels are widespread across northern and central China and are not limited to major cities or geologic basins. Sources of pollution are widespread, but are particularly intense in a northeast corridor that extends from near Shanghai to north of Beijing. During our analysis period, 92% of the population of China experienced >120 hours of unhealthy air (US EPA standard), and 38% experienced average concentrations that were unhealthy. China’s population-weighted average exposure to PM2.5 was 52 μg/m3. The observed air pollution is calculated to contribute to 1.6 million deaths/year in China [0.7-2.2 million deaths/year at 95% confidence], roughly 17% of all deaths in China.

Concepts: United States Environmental Protection Agency, Particulate, Smog, Sulfuric acid, Air pollution, Volcano, Dust, Shanghai


The lower cloud layer of Venus (47.5-50.5 km) is an exceptional target for exploration due to the favorable conditions for microbial life, including moderate temperatures and pressures (∼60°C and 1 atm), and the presence of micron-sized sulfuric acid aerosols. Nearly a century after the ultraviolet (UV) contrasts of Venus' cloud layer were discovered with Earth-based photographs, the substances and mechanisms responsible for the changes in Venus' contrasts and albedo are still unknown. While current models include sulfur dioxide and iron chloride as the UV absorbers, the temporal and spatial changes in contrasts, and albedo, between 330 and 500 nm, remain to be fully explained. Within this context, we present a discussion regarding the potential for microorganisms to survive in Venus' lower clouds and contribute to the observed bulk spectra. In this article, we provide an overview of relevant Venus observations, compare the spectral and physical properties of Venus' clouds to terrestrial biological materials, review the potential for an iron- and sulfur-centered metabolism in the clouds, discuss conceivable mechanisms of transport from the surface toward a more habitable zone in the clouds, and identify spectral and biological experiments that could measure the habitability of Venus' clouds and terrestrial analogues. Together, our lines of reasoning suggest that particles in Venus' lower clouds contain sufficient mass balance to harbor microorganisms, water, and solutes, and potentially sufficient biomass to be detected by optical methods. As such, the comparisons presented in this article warrant further investigations into the prospect of biosignatures in Venus' clouds. Key Words: Venus-Clouds-Life-Habitability-Microorganism-Albedo-Spectroscopy-Biosignatures-Aerosol-Sulfuric Acid. Astrobiology 18, xxx-xxx.

Concepts: Oxygen, Bacteria, Sulfur, Sulfuric acid, Microorganism, Sulfur dioxide, Venus, Planetary habitability


Fine-particle pollution associated with winter haze threatens the health of more than 400 million people in the North China Plain. Sulfate is a major component of fine haze particles. Record sulfate concentrations of up to ~300 μg m(-3) were observed during the January 2013 winter haze event in Beijing. State-of-the-art air quality models that rely on sulfate production mechanisms requiring photochemical oxidants cannot predict these high levels because of the weak photochemistry activity during haze events. We find that the missing source of sulfate and particulate matter can be explained by reactive nitrogen chemistry in aerosol water. The aerosol water serves as a reactor, where the alkaline aerosol components trap SO2, which is oxidized by NO2 to form sulfate, whereby high reaction rates are sustained by the high neutralizing capacity of the atmosphere in northern China. This mechanism is self-amplifying because higher aerosol mass concentration corresponds to higher aerosol water content, leading to faster sulfate production and more severe haze pollution.

Concepts: Chemistry, Physical chemistry, Particulate, Smog, Sulfuric acid, Air pollution, Beijing, North China


Lead dioxide has been studied for over 150 years as a component of the lead-acid battery. Based on first-principles calculations, we predict that by tuning the concentration of electrons in the material, through control of the defect chemistry, PbO(2) can be rendered from black to optically transparent, thus opening up applications in the field of optoelectronics.

Concepts: Lead, Sulfuric acid, Lead-acid battery, Car battery, Lead(II) oxide, Battery room


Used batteries contain numerous metals in high concentrations and if not disposed of with proper care, they can negatively affect our environment. These metals represent 83% of all spent batteries and therefore it is important to recover metals such as Zn and Mn, and reuse them for the production of new batteries. The recovery of Zn and Mn from used batteries, in particular from Zn-C and alkaline ones has been researched using hydrometallurgical methods. After comminution and classification of elemental components, the electrode paste resulting from these processes was treated by chemical leaching. Prior to the leaching process the electrode paste has been subjected to two washing steps, in order to remove the potassium, which is an inconvenient element in this type of processes. To simultaneously extract Zn and Mn from this paste, the leaching method in alkaline medium (NaOH solution) and acid medium (sulphuric acid solution) was used. Also, to determine the efficiency of extraction of Zn and Mn from used batteries, the following variables were studied: reagents concentration, S/L ratio, temperature, time. The best results for extraction yield of Zn and Mn were obtained under acid leaching conditions (2M H(2)SO(4), 1h, 80°C).

Concepts: Concentration, Chemistry, Chemical element, Zinc, Sodium hydroxide, Sulfuric acid, Manganese, Hydrometallurgy


BACKGROUND: Green catalyst Fly-ash: H2SO4 was prepared by mixing Fly-ash and sulphuric acid. Microwave irradiations is applied for solid phase cyclization of 5-bromo-2-thienyl chalcones and phenyl hydrazine hydrate in presence of Fly-ash:H2SO4 yields 1-phenyl-3(5-bromothiophen-2-yl)-5-(substituted phenyl)-2-pyrazolines. These pyrazolines were characterized by their physical constants and spectral data. The antimicrobial activities of all synthesized pyrazolines have been studied. RESULTS: The SEM analysis shows the morphology changes between fly-ash and the catalyst Fly-ash: H2SO4. The SEM Photographs with the scale of 1 and 50 mum shows the fly-sh particle is corroded by H2SO4 (indicated by arrow mark) and this may be due to dissolution of Fly-ash by H2SO4. The yields of 1-phenyl-3(5-bromothiophen-2-yl)-5-(substituted phenyl)-2-pyrazolines is more than 90% using this catalyst under microwave heating. All pyrazolines showed a moderate activities against antimicrobial a strains. CONCLUSION: We have developed an efficient catalytic method for synthesis of 1-phenyl-3(5-bromothiophen-2-yl)-5-(substituted phenyl)-2-pyrazolines by solid phase cyclization using a solvent free environmentally greener catalyst fly-ash: H2SO4 under microwave irradiation between aryl chalcones and hydrazine hydrate. This reaction protocol offers a simple, economical, environmentally friendly, non-hazards, easier work-up procedure and good yields. All synthesized pyrazoline derivatives showed a moderate antimicrobial activities against their strains.

Concepts: Environment, Chemical reaction, Catalysis, Sulfur, Sulfuric acid, Sulfur dioxide, Environmentally friendly, Hydrazine


Electrophilic high-valent metal ions are potent intermediates for the catalytic functionalization of methane, but in many cases, their high redox potentials make these intermediates difficult or impossible to access using mild stoichiometric oxidants derived from O2. Herein, we establish electrochemical oxidation as a versatile new strategy for accessing high-valent methane monofunctionalization catalysts. We provide evidence for the electrochemical oxidation of simple PdSO4 in concentrated sulfuric acid electrolytes to generate a putative Pd2III,III species in an all-oxidic ligand field. This electrogenerated high-valent Pd complex rapidly activates methane with a low barrier of 25.9 (±2.6) kcal/mol, generating methanol precursors methyl bisulfate (CH3OSO3H) and methanesulfonic acid (CH3SO3H) via concurrent faradaic and nonfaradaic reaction pathways. This work enables new electrochemical approaches for promoting rapid methane monofunctionalization.

Concepts: Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Hydrogen, Redox, Electrochemistry, Carbon, Zinc, Sulfuric acid


Using dendroisotopic techniques, we show the recovery of Juniperus virginiana L. (eastern red cedar) trees in the Central Appalachian Mountains from decades of acidic pollution. Acid deposition over much of the 20th century reduced stomatal conductance of leaves, thereby increasing intrinsic water-use efficiency of the Juniperus trees. These data indicate that the stomata of Juniperus may be more sensitive to acid deposition than to increasing atmospheric CO2. A breakpoint in the 100-y δ(13)C tree ring chronology occurred around 1980, as the legacy of sulfur dioxide emissions declined following the enactment of the Clean Air Act in 1970, indicating a gradual increase in stomatal conductance (despite rising levels of atmospheric CO2) and a concurrent increase in photosynthesis related to decreasing acid deposition and increasing atmospheric CO2. Tree ring δ(34)S shows a synchronous change in the sources of sulfur used at the whole-tree level that indicates a reduced anthropogenic influence. The increase in growth and the δ(13)C and δ(34)S trends in the tree ring chronology of these Juniperus trees provide evidence for a distinct physiological response to changes in atmospheric SO2 emissions since ∼1980 and signify the positive impacts of landmark environmental legislation to facilitate recovery of forest ecosystems from acid deposition.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Sulfur, Sulfuric acid, Sulfur dioxide, Acid rain, Dendrochronology


Sulfur K-edge X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS) has been used to distinguish between aqueous and solid sulfates and to investigate changes in their speciation. Data have been collected for tetrahedally coordinated S in K2SO4 and KHSO4 solids and aqueous solutions. The X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure (XANES) spectra for solids, which are much more structured are distinguishable from those of aqueous solutions. The protonation state has a strong effect on the white line of sulfates and has been assigned to the different charge delocalization in the samples, the effect of the solvating water molecules and multiple scattering effects. In the Extended X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (EXAFS) spectra, the backscattering from the first O shell dominated the EXAFS fine structure function, χ(k), but the nonlinear multiple scattering contributions occurring in the first coordination shell are significant and must be considered in the EXAFS analysis. The intensity of these contributions strongly depends on the symmetry of the system. For a distorted tetrahedron, the intensity of the multiple scattering contributions is less than that found in a regular tetrahedron. The FEFF code has been used to model the contributions of the multiple-scattering processes. The observed experimental evidences in XAS data can be used to distinguish between sulfates in solids and liquids. This is applicable to many chemical, geochemical and biological systems.

Concepts: Electron, Chemistry, Sulfuric acid, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, Absorption spectroscopy, Sulfate, X-ray absorption fine structure, XANES