Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Lightning Storms Create Noxious Nitric Oxide Gas

Lightning storms do not produce electricity in the air but also noxious nitrous oxide gases such as nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The former is a toxic air pollutant also produced by automobile engines and power plants, and the latter is a poisonous reddish-brown gas with a sharp odor. Scientists have now taken steps to monitor the level of gases produced by lightning storms in an attempt to determine how these affect the climate and Earth's environment in general. William Koshak, a lightning researcher at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, says that "NOx indirectly influences our climate because it partly controls the concentration of ozone (O3) and hydroxyl radicals (OH) in the atmosphere. Ozone is an important greenhouse gas, and OH is a highly reactive molecule that controls the oxidation of several greenhouse gases."

Nitrous oxide is what is commonly known as laughing gas. In the human body, nitric oxide is a precursor trigger to certain biological functions such as sex. Please see a related article after the post below, i.e., Brazilian Spider Bite Can Cure Erectile Dysfunction. You can only imagine what lightning storms do to our body. What's that tingling sensation, you say?

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