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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 10, issue 15
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 7215–7229, 2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: MILAGRO/INTEX-B 2006

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 7215–7229, 2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  06 Aug 2010

06 Aug 2010

The production and persistence of ΣRONO2 in the Mexico City plume

A. E. Perring1,*,**, T. H. Bertram1,***, D. K. Farmer1,**, P. J. Wooldridge1, J. Dibb2, N. J. Blake3, D. R. Blake3, H. B. Singh4, H. Fuelberg5, G. Diskin6, G. Sachse6, and R. C. Cohen1,7 A. E. Perring et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA
  • 2Climate Change Research Institute, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA
  • 3Department of Chemistry, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA
  • 4NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, USA
  • 5Department of Meteorology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA
  • 6NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, USA
  • 7Department 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
  • ***now at: Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA

Abstract. Alkyl and multifunctional nitrates (RONO2, ΣANs) have been observed to be a significant fraction of NOy in a number of different chemical regimes. Their formation is an important free radical chain termination step ending production of ozone and possibly affecting formation of secondary organic aerosol. ΣANs also represent a potentially large, unmeasured contribution to OH reactivity and are a major pathway for the removal of nitrogen oxides from the atmosphere. Numerous studies have investigated the role of nitrate formation from biogenic compounds and in the remote atmosphere. Less attention has been paid to the role ΣANs may play in the complex mixtures of hydrocarbons typical of urban settings. Measurements of total alkyl and multifunctional nitrates, NO2, total peroxy nitrates (ΣPNs), HNO3 and a representative suite of hydrocarbons were obtained from the NASA DC-8 aircraft during spring of 2006 in and around Mexico City and the Gulf of Mexico. ΣANs were observed to be 10–20% of NOy in the Mexico City plume and to increase in importance with increased photochemical age. We describe three conclusions: (1) Correlations of ΣANs with odd-oxygen (Ox) indicate a stronger role for ΣANs in the photochemistry of Mexico City than is expected based on currently accepted photochemical mechanisms, (2) ΣAN formation suppresses peak ozone production rates by as much as 40% in the near-field of Mexico City and (3) ΣANs play a significant role in the export of NOy from Mexico City to the Gulf Region.

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