Nitrogen Oxides in the Nocturnal Boundary Layer: Chemistry of Nitrous Acid (HONO) and the Nitrate Radical (N03)

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Description

Summary Chemical processes occurring at night in the lowest part of the urban atmosphere, the so called nocturnal boundary layer (NBL), can influence the composition of the atmosphere during the night as well as the following day. They may impact the budgets of some of the most important pollutants, such as ozone and nitrogen oxides, as well as influence size and composition of particular matter. Few studies have thus far concentrated on the nocturnal chemistry of the urban NBL, most likely due to the strong influence of vertical transport and mixing, which requires the measurement of trace gas profiles instead ... continued below

Creation Information

Stutz, Jochen May 24, 2005.

Context

This report is part of the collection entitled: Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports and was provided by UNT Libraries Government Documents Department to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. More information about this report can be viewed below.

Who

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this report or its content.

Author

Sponsor

Publisher

Provided By

UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Serving as both a federal and a state depository library, the UNT Libraries Government Documents Department maintains millions of items in a variety of formats. The department is a member of the FDLP Content Partnerships Program and an Affiliated Archive of the National Archives.

Contact Us

What

Descriptive information to help identify this report. Follow the links below to find similar items on the Digital Library.

Description

Summary Chemical processes occurring at night in the lowest part of the urban atmosphere, the so called nocturnal boundary layer (NBL), can influence the composition of the atmosphere during the night as well as the following day. They may impact the budgets of some of the most important pollutants, such as ozone and nitrogen oxides, as well as influence size and composition of particular matter. Few studies have thus far concentrated on the nocturnal chemistry of the urban NBL, most likely due to the strong influence of vertical transport and mixing, which requires the measurement of trace gas profiles instead of simple point observations. Motivated by our lack of observations and understanding of nocturnal chemistry, the focus of this project was the study of the vertical distribution of trace gases and the altitude dependence of nocturnal chemistry under polluted conditions through field observations and modeling studies. The analysis of three field experiments (TEXAQS, Houston, 2000; Phoenix Sunrise Ozone Experiment, 2001; NAPOX, Boston, 2002), two of which were performed in this project, showed that ozone concentrations typically increase with height in the lowest 150m, while NO2 typically decreases. NO3, the dominant nocturnal radical species, showed much higher concentrations in the upper part of the NBL, and was often not present at the ground. With the help of a one-dimensional chemical transport model, developed in this project, we found that the interaction of ground emissions of NOx and hydrocarbons, together with their vertical transport, is responsible for the vertical profiles. The dominant chemical reactions influencing ozone, NO2 and NO3 are the reaction of ozone and NO3 with freshly emitted NO. Sensitivity studies with our model showed that the magnitude of the trace gas gradients depend both on the emission rates and the vertical stability of the NBL. Observations and model analysis clearly show that nocturnal chemistry in urban areas is altitude dependent. Measurements at one altitude, for example at the ground, where most air quality monitoring stations are located, are not representative for the rest of the NBL. Our model also revealed that radical chemistry is, in general, altitude dependent at night. We distinguish three regions: an unreactive, NO rich, ground layer; an upper, O3 and NO3 dominated layer, and a reactive mixing layer, where RO2 radicals are mixed from aloft with NO from the ground. In this reactive layer an active radical chemistry and elevated OH radical levels can be found. The downward transport of N2O5 and HO2NO2, followed by their thermal decay, was also identified as a radical source in this layer. Our observations also gave insight into the formation of HONO in the NBL. Based on our field experiments we were able to show that the NO2 to HONO conversion was relative humidity dependent. While this fact was well known, we found that it is most likely the uptake of HONO onto surfaces which is R.H. dependent, rather than the NO2 to HONO conversion. This finding led to the proposal of a new NO2 to HONO conversion mechanism, which is based on solid physical chemical principles. Noteworthy is also the observation of enhanced NO2 to HONO conversion during a dust storm event in Phoenix. The final activity in our project investigated the influence of the urban canopy, i.e. building walls and surfaces, on nocturnal chemistry. For the first time the surface area of a city was determined based on a Geographical Information System database of the city of Santa Monica. The surface to volume areas found in this study showed that, in the 2 lower part of the NBL, buildings provide a much larger surface area than the aerosol. In addition, buildings take up a considerable amount of the volume near the ground. The expansion of our model and sensitivity studies based on the Santa Monica data revealed that the surface area of buildings considerably influences HONO levels in urban areas. The volume reduction leads to a decrease of O3 and an increase of NO2 near the ground due to the stronger impact of NO emissions. Our project shows that the urban canopy should be included in future air quality models to better represent nocturnal chemistry. This project has considerably advanced our understanding of the chemistry of the urban nocturnal boundary layer. The results of this project have implications for air quality studies in the urban nocturnal boundary layer. The study has also identified new questions on nocturnal processes, which we will continue to address through other projects.

Language

Item Type

Identifier

Unique identifying numbers for this report in the Digital Library or other systems.

  • Report No.: DOE-ER-63094
  • Grant Number: FG02-01ER63094
  • DOI: 10.2172/878475 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 878475
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc873671

Collections

This report is part of the following collection of related materials.

Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

What responsibilities do I have when using this report?

When

Dates and time periods associated with this report.

Creation Date

  • May 24, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Dec. 28, 2017, 2:43 a.m.

Usage Statistics

When was this report last used?

Yesterday: 0
Past 30 days: 0
Total Uses: 3

Interact With This Report

Here are some suggestions for what to do next.

Start Reading

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Citations, Rights, Re-Use

Stutz, Jochen. Nitrogen Oxides in the Nocturnal Boundary Layer: Chemistry of Nitrous Acid (HONO) and the Nitrate Radical (N03), report, May 24, 2005; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc873671/: accessed April 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.