Articles | Volume 11, issue 3
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 963–978, 2011
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 963–978, 2011

Research article 02 Feb 2011

Research article | 02 Feb 2011

Diurnal variation of midlatitudinal NO3 column abundance over table mountain facility, California

C. M. Chen*,1, R. P. Cageao1, L. Lawrence2,***, J. Stutz2, R. J. Salawitch1,****, L. Jourdain1,*****, Q. Li2,1, and S. P. Sander1 C. M. Chen et al.
  • 1Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
  • 2University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • *now at: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany
  • **now at: NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, USA
  • ***now at: California Air Resources Board, Sacramento, California, USA
  • ****now at: University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA
  • *****now at: Laboratoire de Physique et Chimie de l'Environnement et de l'Espace, Université d'Orléans/CNRS, France

Abstract. The column abundance of NO3 was measured over Table Mountain Facility, CA (34.4° N, 117.7° W) from May 2003 through September 2004, using lunar occultation near full moon with a grating spectrometer. The NO3 column retrieval was performed with the differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) technique using both the 623 and 662 nm NO3 absorption bands. Other spectral features such as Fraunhofer lines and absorption from water vapor and oxygen were removed using solar spectra obtained at different airmass factors. We observed a seasonal variation, with nocturnally averaged NO3 columns between 5−7 × 1013 molec cm−2 during October through March, and 5−22 × 1013 molec cm−2 during April through September. A subset of the data, with diurnal variability vastly different from the temporal profile obtained from one-dimensional stratospheric model calculations, clearly has boundary layer contributions; this was confirmed by simultaneous long-path DOAS measurements. However, even the NO3 columns that did follow the modeled time evolution were often much larger than modeled stratospheric partial columns constrained by realistic temperatures and ozone concentrations. This discrepancy is attributed to substantial tropospheric NO3 in the free troposphere, which may have the same time dependence as stratospheric NO3.

Final-revised paper