Articles | Volume 12, issue 3
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 1497–1513, 2012

Special issue: Program of Regional Integrated Experiments on Air Quality...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 1497–1513, 2012

Research article 08 Feb 2012

Research article | 08 Feb 2012

Exploring the atmospheric chemistry of nitrous acid (HONO) at a rural site in Southern China

X. Li1,2, T. Brauers2, R. Häseler2, B. Bohn2, H. Fuchs2, A. Hofzumahaus2, F. Holland2, S. Lou2,3,*, K. D. Lu1,2, F. Rohrer2, M. Hu1, L. M. Zeng1, Y. H. Zhang1, R. M. Garland4,**, H. Su1,4, A. Nowak5,***, A. Wiedensohler5, N. Takegawa6, M. Shao1, and A. Wahner2 X. Li et al.
  • 1College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, China
  • 2Institute for Energy and Climate Research, IEK-8, Research Center Jülich, Jülich, Germany
  • 3School of Environmental Science and Technology, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China
  • 4Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Biogeochemistry Department, Mainz, Germany
  • 5Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany
  • 6Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  • *now at: Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences, Shanghai, China
  • **now at: Natural Resources and the Environment, CSIR, Pretoria, South Africa
  • ***now at: Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig, Germany

Abstract. We performed measurements of nitrous acid (HONO) during the PRIDE-PRD2006 campaign in the Pearl River Delta region 60 km north of Guangzhou, China, for 4 weeks in June 2006. HONO was measured by a LOPAP in-situ instrument which was setup in one of the campaign supersites along with a variety of instruments measuring hydroxyl radicals, trace gases, aerosols, and meteorological parameters. Maximum diurnal HONO mixing ratios of 1–5 ppb were observed during the nights. We found that the nighttime build-up of HONO can be attributed to the heterogeneous NO2 to HONO conversion on ground surfaces and the OH + NO reaction. In addition to elevated nighttime mixing ratios, measured noontime values of ≈200 ppt indicate the existence of a daytime source higher than the OH + NO→HONO reaction. Using the simultaneously recorded OH, NO, and HONO photolysis frequency, a daytime additional source strength of HONO (PM) was calculated to be 0.77 ppb h−1 on average. This value compares well to previous measurements in other environments. Our analysis of PM provides evidence that the photolysis of HNO3 adsorbed on ground surfaces contributes to the HONO formation.

Final-revised paper