Scientists for the first time have detected ammonia in the upper troposphere, the lowest atmospheric layer of Earth.
It was detected by team of researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. They had analysed satellite data collected from various parts of the troposphere between June 2002 to April 2012.
- The ammonia (NH3) was released into the atmosphere as agricultural emission from livestock farming and fertilisation.
- It was found in highest concentrations above Asian monsoon regions of India and China. Similar levels of ammonia were detected nowhere else on Earth.
- The ammonia concentration was up to 33 pptv (33 ammonia molecules per trillion air molecules) above Southeast China and North India.
- The ammonia released due to agricultural processes survives all the way to the troposphere, where it ends up in monsoons.
- It is not washed out completely when air ascends in monsoon circulation. It enters the upper troposphere from the boundary layer close to the ground, where the gas occurs at relatively high concentrations.
- The detected ammonia may be playing a role in formation of aerosol (tiny particles made from super-fine solid particles) in the troposphere.
- The aerosol may have influence cloud formation and altering properties of existing clouds
- It is thought that accumulation of ammonia in the troposphere could have a cooling effect.
- It can be compensating in part for the human-caused greenhouse effect. Thus, it can help to mitigate the effects of global warming
Earth’s troposphere: It extends from 7 to 20 km above sea level. It contains up to 80% of the planet’s atmosphere, and all weather phenomena.