A comprehensive group of reactive nitrogen species (NO, NO2, HNO3, HO2NO2, PANs, alkyl nitrates, and aerosol-NO3) were measured in the troposphere and lowermost stratosphere over North America and the Atlantic during July/August 2004 (INTEX-A) from the NASA DC-8 platform (0.1-12 km). Less reactive nitrogen species (HCN and CH3CN), that are also unique tracers of biomass combustion, were also measured along with a host of other gaseous (CO, VOC, OVOC, halocarbon) and aerosol tracers. Clean background air as well as air with influences from biogenic emissions, anthropogenic pollution, biomass combustion, and stratosphere was sampled both over continental U. S., Atlantic and Pacific. The North American upper troposphere was found to be greatly influenced by both lightning NO(x) and surface pollution lofted via convection and contained elevated concentrations of PAN, ozone, hydrocarbons, and NO(x). Under polluted conditions PAN was a dominant carrier of reactive nitrogen in the upper troposphere while nitric acid dominated in the lower troposphere. Peroxynitric acid (HO2NO2) was present in sizable concentrations always peaking at around 8 km. Aerosol nitrate appeared to be mostly contained in large soil based particles in the lower troposphere. Plumes from Alaskan fires contained large amounts of PAN and very little enhancement in ozone. Observational data suggest that lightning was a far greater contributor to NO(x) in the upper troposphere than previously believed. NO(x) and NO(y) reservoir appeared to be in steady state only in the middle troposphere where NO(x)/NO(y) was independent of air mass age. A first comparison of observed data with simulations from four 3-D models shows significant differences between observations and models as well as among models. These uncertainties likely propagate themselves in satellites derived NOx data. Observed data are interpreted to suggest that soil sinks of HCN/CH3CN are at best very small. We investigate the partitioning and interplay of the reactive nitrogen species within characteristic air masses and further examine their role in ozone formation.
Meteorology and Climatology
Submitted to the Journal of Geophysical Research to be published in volume 112, pp. 1-15, April 2007