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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 9
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 4209-4219, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-11-4209-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 4209-4219, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-11-4209-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 06 May 2011

Research article | 06 May 2011

Global and regional effects of the photochemistry of CH3O2NO2: evidence from ARCTAS

E. C. Browne1, A. E. Perring*,1,**, P. J. Wooldridge1, E. Apel2, S. R. Hall2, L. G. Huey3, J. Mao4, K. M. Spencer5, J. M. St. Clair6, A. J. Weinheimer2, A. Wisthaler7, and R. C. Cohen8,1 E. C. Browne et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA
  • 2Atmospheric Chemistry Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 3School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA
  • 4School of Engineering and Applied Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 5Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 6Division of Geology and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 7Institut für Ionenphysik & Angewandte Physik, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  • 8Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA
  • *now at: Chemical Sciences Division, Earth Systems Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, CO, USA
  • **now at: Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA

Abstract. Using measurements from the NASA Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites (ARCTAS) experiment, we show that methyl peroxy nitrate (CH3O2NO2) is present in concentrations of ~5–15 pptv in the springtime arctic upper troposphere. We investigate the regional and global effects of CH3O2NO2 by including its chemistry in the GEOS-Chem 3-D global chemical transport model. We find that at temperatures below 240 K inclusion of CH3O2NO2 chemistry results in decreases of up to ~20 % in NOx, ~20 % in N2O5, ~5 % in HNO3, ~2 % in ozone, and increases in methyl hydrogen peroxide of up to ~14 %. Larger changes are observed in biomass burning plumes lofted to high altitude. Additionally, by sequestering NOx at low temperatures, CH3O2NO2 decreases the cycling of HO2 to OH, resulting in a larger upper tropospheric HO2 to OH ratio. These results may impact some estimates of lightning NOx sources as well as help explain differences between models and measurements of upper tropospheric composition.

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