KUWAIT CITY, Nov 17: Microplastics permeate diverse environments, extending from secluded shorelines and seafood to mountain peaks, newborns’ bodies, and even the atmospheric clouds above China. Recently revealed findings from a research team examining the clouds over Mount Tai, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, have prompted speculation about the potential impact of microplastics on Earth’s weather.
As per a report by the “Russia Today” website, sourced from the British newspaper “Daily Mail,” the discovery raises the possibility of higher cloud formation, potentially leading to increased rainfall or cooler conditions. However, scientists caution that further investigation is imperative to understand the full implications of these findings.
The researchers also suggest that particles present in clouds may influence their formation and render them more prone to carrying metals from industrial pollution. Microplastics, classified as plastic particles smaller than five millimeters, exhibited a prevalence of particles smaller than 100 micrometers in this study, comprising about 60 percent of the identified particles.
The research team, collecting cloud water samples from the mountain’s summit, identified microplastic particles in 24 out of 28 samples, with concentrations escalating closer to sea level where clouds exhibited greater density. Scientists highlight the potential breakdown of microplastics into smaller fragments, known as “nanoplastics,” due to sunlight and other weather factors, suggesting that the study likely underestimates the actual presence of plastics in clouds.
Computer simulations indicate that these microplastics may have originated from various parts of the country, prompting researchers to contemplate how these particles could alter cloud formation dynamics and subsequently impact weather patterns.
In the atmosphere, sunlight-induced erosion of plastic materials contributes to surface roughness. While this study is not the first to identify microplastic particles in clouds, researchers emphasize the need for further investigations to elucidate the precise role of these ubiquitous particles in the context of our evolving climate. A similar study in Japan reported comparable results in October, underlining the global significance of understanding the implications of microplastics in atmospheric systems.
The post Recent findings show plastic in the clouds affects Earth’s weather! first appeared on ARAB TIMES – KUWAIT NEWS.