Saturday, November 19, 2016

Researchers have elucidated the mystery phenomenon ( London Fog of 1952 killed about 12,000 people )

Photo: 123rf.com
Londoners are accustomed to foggy weather and dark clouds that appear in winter. But in early December, 1952, the fog of city residents have been fatal.

At that time 14,000 people died and 150,000 have suffered respiratory infections. In the long term, it is estimated that about 12,000 people died from the effects of fog in that month. Also, the animals were affected.

Still had less reason to take issue with the cerccet─âtori, but a new study tried to find out what was actually behind this event. A team of Chinese scientists, American and British bred in the lab fog and compared it with records from weather conditions in 2 cities highly polluted in China, Beijing and Xi`an.

Sulfates are a key component of fog in London, giving her features making it toxic and smelly. Thus, it is fair to say that London fog is caused by emissions of sulfur dioxide by stacks of housing or from industry. However, the sulfur dioxide is converted to sulfuric acid remains a mystery.

"The results show that this process is facilitated by nitrogen dioxide, another compound emitted by smokestacks, which takes the form of fog," said one of the team, Renyi Zhang of the University of Texas. "Another key issue in terms of conversion of sulfur dioxide to sulfates is that it produces acid particles, which have an important role in this process. Natural mist is made up of extremely small particles and diluted acid is formed. Evaporation of all these particles leave behind acid mist particles covering the city, "he added.

"We believe we have succeeded in solving the mystery of the strange phenomenon that took place in London in 1952 and also China have offered some ideas on how to increase air quality. Reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides and ammonia interrupt the process of formation of sulfates, "concluded the researchers.




Story source: IFL Science

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