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Title: The Primary and Recycling Sources of OH During the NACHTT-2011 Campaign: HONO as an Important OH Primary Source in the Wintertime

We present OH observation results during the NACHTT-11 field campaign at the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory in Weld County, Colorado. The observed OH levels during the daytime (at noon) were ~ 2.7 × 106 molecules cm-3 at the ground level (2 m above ground level, AGL). HONO and ozone photolysis were the two dominant photochemical OH production pathways during the field campaign. However, alkene ozonolysis, found an important source for OH by two previous winter season OH observations, was a minor contribution to OH primary production (~5 %). To evaluate recycling sources of OH from HO2 and RO2, an observation constrained University of Washington Chemical Mechanism (UWCM) box model is employed to simulated ambient OH levels with different model scenarios. For the base run without constraining observed HONO, the model simulated OH significantly underestimates the observed OH level (20.8 times in the morning and 7.2 times in the daytime). This indicates that the known HONO sources incorporated in the UWCM model cannot explain the observed HONO level. Once HONO is constrained by the observation, the discrepancy between observation and model simulation improves (5.1 times in the morning and 2.1 times in the daytime) but still out of the measurement uncertainty rangemore » (35 %). We explore two possible reasons for the observed unexplainably high wintertime OH levels. First, potential roles of Cl atoms produce organic peroxy radicals from the reactions between Cl atmos and alkane compounds. However, the Cl levels during the observation period are estimated very low (~ 103 atoms cm-3) to explain the enhanced OH levels. Second, Impacts of higher HONO levels on the ground was evaluated. Strong HONO gradient towards ground was observed especially during the early morning (6 am to 8 am) was observed and the lowest level available for the HONO observation during the campaign is 5 m AGL. Once we assume the twice of the observed HONO levels averaged between 5 m to 15 m at 2 m AGL, model predicted OH levels agree well within the observation uncertainty range. Wintertime photochemistry has not been investigated as much as the summer season. The results of this study along with a limited number of winter OH observations clearly urge further investigation on tropospheric oxidation capacity in the winter season considering implications of tropospheric oxidation capacity to the short-lived climate forcers especially methane.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres), 119(11):6886-6896
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States