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Title: Temporal and spatial distribution of tropospheric nitrous oxide

Abstract

The concentration of nitrous oxide has been measured in air samples collected from monitoring stations and aboard oceanographic vessels in the major world oceans. These measurements demonstrate that the tropospheric nitrous oxide concentration is increasing at approx.0.2% per year, thus confirming earlier observations of the increase based on stored samples. The measurements also show that the concentration of nitrous oxide in the northern hemisphere is higher than in the southern hemisphere, the average difference during the sampling interval having been about 0.8 parts per billion (ppb), compared to a January 1, 1978 northern hemisphere dry air mole fraction of 300.2 ppb. The data are well represented by a simple box model which relates the tropospheric rate of increase to an exponentially increasing source function. The observed increase may be explained by combustion of fossil fuels and agricultural activity, with a total source strength of approx.11 x 10/sup 10/ mol/yr as of January 1, 1978. A substantial fraction of this production is explained by combustion, and agricultural production is therefore considerably less than has been previously estimated. The concentration of nitrous oxide in the preindustrial unperturbed troposphere is estimated to have been between 281 and 291 ppb, depending upon the ratemore » of increase of the mean anthropogenic source function, and the preindustrial latitudinal distribution is estimated to have been nearly uniform. According to the model projections, the concentration of tropospheric nitrous oxide in the year 2000 will be 5 to 7% above present values. The observed rate of tropospheric increase directly affects the production of stratospheric nitric oxide, and plays a significant role in the earth's radiation balance, conservatively estimated as 10--15% of the effect due to increasing carbon dioxide.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Scripps Institition of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093
OSTI Identifier:
5642462
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
J. Geophys. Res.; (United States)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 86:C8
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; NITROUS OXIDE; ECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION; AGRICULTURE; COMBUSTION PRODUCTS; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS; FORECASTING; FOSSIL FUELS; GLOBAL ASPECTS; SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION; TIME DEPENDENCE; TROPOSPHERE; CHALCOGENIDES; DISTRIBUTION; EARTH ATMOSPHERE; ENERGY SOURCES; FUELS; INDUSTRY; NITROGEN COMPOUNDS; NITROGEN OXIDES; OXIDES; OXYGEN COMPOUNDS; 500200* - Environment, Atmospheric- Chemicals Monitoring & Transport- (-1989)

Citation Formats

Weiss, R F. Temporal and spatial distribution of tropospheric nitrous oxide. United States: N. p., 1981. Web. doi:10.1029/JC086iC08p07185.
Weiss, R F. Temporal and spatial distribution of tropospheric nitrous oxide. United States. https://doi.org/10.1029/JC086iC08p07185
Weiss, R F. Thu . "Temporal and spatial distribution of tropospheric nitrous oxide". United States. https://doi.org/10.1029/JC086iC08p07185.
@article{osti_5642462,
title = {Temporal and spatial distribution of tropospheric nitrous oxide},
author = {Weiss, R F},
abstractNote = {The concentration of nitrous oxide has been measured in air samples collected from monitoring stations and aboard oceanographic vessels in the major world oceans. These measurements demonstrate that the tropospheric nitrous oxide concentration is increasing at approx.0.2% per year, thus confirming earlier observations of the increase based on stored samples. The measurements also show that the concentration of nitrous oxide in the northern hemisphere is higher than in the southern hemisphere, the average difference during the sampling interval having been about 0.8 parts per billion (ppb), compared to a January 1, 1978 northern hemisphere dry air mole fraction of 300.2 ppb. The data are well represented by a simple box model which relates the tropospheric rate of increase to an exponentially increasing source function. The observed increase may be explained by combustion of fossil fuels and agricultural activity, with a total source strength of approx.11 x 10/sup 10/ mol/yr as of January 1, 1978. A substantial fraction of this production is explained by combustion, and agricultural production is therefore considerably less than has been previously estimated. The concentration of nitrous oxide in the preindustrial unperturbed troposphere is estimated to have been between 281 and 291 ppb, depending upon the rate of increase of the mean anthropogenic source function, and the preindustrial latitudinal distribution is estimated to have been nearly uniform. According to the model projections, the concentration of tropospheric nitrous oxide in the year 2000 will be 5 to 7% above present values. The observed rate of tropospheric increase directly affects the production of stratospheric nitric oxide, and plays a significant role in the earth's radiation balance, conservatively estimated as 10--15% of the effect due to increasing carbon dioxide.},
doi = {10.1029/JC086iC08p07185},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/5642462}, journal = {J. Geophys. Res.; (United States)},
number = ,
volume = 86:C8,
place = {United States},
year = {1981},
month = {8}
}