Fears these tiny particles could accelerate climate change

A world-first study claims airborne microplastics are influencing the planet's changing climate.

Fears these tiny particles could accelerate climate change

Airborne microplastics could have the potential to influence climate change, a new study claims.

The world-first study, published in today, modelled the possible climate effects of airborne microplastics.

It found the tiny particles scatter and absorb light, which respectively has a cooling and heating effect on the climate.

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Lead author Laura Revell from the University of Canterbury told 9News the modelling so far indicates microplastics have an overall cooling effect.

"They scatter light and radiation like tiny disco balls, which has a cooling effect," Dr Revell said.

"(But) microplastics can also absorb light and in a small way can contribute to the greenhouse effect."

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Sunlight, wind, waves and heat break plastic down into tiny fragments called microplastics.

However, Dr Revell is worried the heating effect could become dominant should concentrations of airborne microplastics increase in the atmosphere.

"It is possible the warming signal could become larger than the cooling signal," she said, explaining there is not enough data measuring factors like the position of microplastics in the atmosphere and colour of the particles, which affects absorption.

"There's just not a lot of data out there (but) either way we do expect it's going to get bigger in the future."

She said she's concerned about the fact many studies don't see microplastics smaller than 11 micrometres.

"It's possible there are all these tiny, tiny plastics out there and we just don't know about them yet."

Large concentrations of airborne microplastics have been found over two major cities: Beijing in China, and London in the United Kingdom.

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Big Ben

"Studies have been done in Beijing and London that identify them as being present in quite high concentrations," she said.

"In big cities, they may be present in the order of a couple thousand microplastics per cubic metre.

"It's possible microplastics in really populated regions could already be having local influence on climate, but I think the signal would be fairly small unless the abundance gets massive in future."

She added microplastics are not as prevalent as other types of atmospheric aerosols, such as dust.

Source : 9 News More   

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US cop who killed Aussie Justine Ruszczyk re-sentenced after murder conviction overturned

Mohamed Noor was initially convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter in the 2017 fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a 40-year-old dual US-Australian citizen and yoga teacher who was engaged to be married

US cop who killed Aussie Justine Ruszczyk re-sentenced after murder conviction overturned

A Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an unarmed woman after she called 911 to report a possible rape happening behind her home was sentenced Thursday to nearly five years in prison — the maximum allowed for manslaughter after his murder conviction was overturned.

Mohamed Noor was initially convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter in the 2017 fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a 40-year-old dual US-Australian citizen and yoga teacher who was engaged to be married.

But the Minnesota Supreme Court tossed out Noor's murder conviction and 12 1/2-year sentence last month, saying the third-degree murder statute didn't fit the case because it can only apply when a defendant shows a "generalised indifference to human life," not when the conduct is directed at a particular person, as it was with Damond.

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Judge Kathryn Quaintance, who also presided at Noor's trial, granted prosecutors' request to impose the maximum sentence called for by state sentencing guidelines on Noor's manslaughter conviction, 57 months. In doing so, she brushed aside the defence's request for 41 months, which is the low end of the range. With good behaviour, Noor could be freed on supervised release by next summer.

"Mr. Noor, I am not surprised that you have been a model prisoner," Quaintance said. "However, I do not know any authority that would make that grounds for reducing your sentence." She cited Noor "shooting across the nose of your partner" and endangering others the night of the shooting to hand down the stiffest sentence she could.

Noor, who was fired after he was charged, has already served more than 29 months. In Minnesota, inmates who behave well typically serve two-thirds of their prison sentences and the remainder on supervised release.

Noor testified at his 2019 trial that he and his partner were driving slowly in an alley when a loud bang on their police SUV made him fear for their lives. He said he saw a woman appear at the partner's driver's side window and raise her right arm before he fired a shot from the passenger seat to stop what he thought was a threat.

He was sentenced to 12 1/2 years on the murder count and had been serving most of his time at an out-of-state facility.

Noor's appeal of his murder conviction was watched closely for implications in the case of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer convicted of the same charge in George Floyd's death. After the state Supreme Court overturned Noor's third-degree murder conviction, experts said they expected the same eventual result for Chauvin but that it would likely have little impact because Chauvin was also convicted of a more serious second-degree murder charge in Floyd's death. Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years.

Noor's attorneys, Tom Plunkett and Peter Wold, sought 41 months at the re-sentencing, citing Noor's good behaviour behind bars and harsh conditions he faced during many months in solitary, away from the general prison population.

Plunkett said Thursday that much attention has been given to the victim as a kind and giving person — "all true," he said. But Plunkett said there is "similar goodness" in Noor. He said Noor had always sought to help people around him, and recapped Noor's good behaviour while in prison.

Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Amy Sweasy, meanwhile, asked Quaintance to give Noor the longest possible sentence. She said the case "is worse than typical" because of who Noor is. "The most serious sentence this court can impose is required," she said.

Damond's parents, John Ruszczyk and Maryan Heffernan, also asked the judge to impose the longest sentence. In a statement read by prosecutors, they called Damond's death "utterly gratuitous" and said that the Minnesota Supreme Court's overturning of a "poorly written law" didn't change the jury's belief that Noor committed murder.

"Our sorrow is forever, our lives will always endure an emptiness," they said.

The victim's fiancé, Don Damond, gave his statement via Zoom. He started by praising prosecutors for their "sound application of the law" and criticising the state Supreme Court for its reversal, which he said "does not diminish the truth that was uncovered during the trial."

"The truth is Justine should be alive. No amount of justification, embellishment, cover-up, dishonesty or politics will ever change that truth," he said.

But Don Damond also spoke directly to Noor, saying he forgave him and had no doubt Justine also would have forgiven him "for your inability in managing your emotions that night."

n this Aug. 11, 2017, file photo, Johanna Morrow plays the didgeridoo during a memorial service for Justine Ruszczyk Damond at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis.

Noor, wearing a suit and tie and donning a face mask, appeared impassive as the victim's loved ones' statements were read. He later addressed the court briefly, saying, "I'm deeply grateful for Mr. Damond's forgiveness. I will take his advice and be a unifier. Thank you."

Damond's death angered citizens in the US and Australia, and led to the resignation of Minneapolis' police chief. It also led the department to change its policy on body cameras; Noor and his partner didn't have theirs activated when they were investigating Damond's 911 call.

Noor, who is Somali American, was believed to be the first Minnesota officer convicted of murder for an on-duty shooting. Activists who had long called for officers to be held accountable for the deadly use of force applauded the murder conviction but lamented that it came in a case in which the officer is Black and his victim was white. Some questioned whether the case was treated the same as police shootings involving Black victims.

Days after Noor's conviction, Minneapolis agreed to pay $20 million to Damond's family, believed at the time to be the largest settlement stemming from police violence in Minnesota. It was surpassed earlier this year when Minneapolis agreed to a $27 million settlement in Floyd's death just as Chauvin was going on trial.

Source : 9 News More   

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