Articles | Volume 7, issue 1
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 139–149, 2007
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 139–149, 2007

  11 Jan 2007

11 Jan 2007

High resolution vertical distributions of NO3 and N2O5 through the nocturnal boundary layer

S. S. Brown1, W. P. Dubé1,2, H. D. Osthoff1,2, D. E. Wolfe1, W. M. Angevine1,2, and A. R. Ravishankara1,3 S. S. Brown et al.
  • 1NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
  • 2Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
  • 3Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA

Abstract. The shallow mixing depth and vertical stratification of the lowest levels of the atmosphere at night has implications for the chemistry of nitrogen oxides emitted from the surface. Here we report vertical profiles of NO3, N2O5 and O3 measured from in-situ instruments on a movable carriage on a 300 m tower. The study offers high-resolution (<1 m) vertical distributions of both NO3 and N2O5 and shows that the nocturnal mixing ratios of these compounds vary widely over short vertical distance scales (10 m or less). Furthermore, there are systematic differences in the steady state lifetimes of NO3 and N2O5 and in the partitioning among nitrogen oxides between different near-surface layers. These differences imply that NO3 and N2O5 occupy distinct chemical regimes as a function of altitude, potentially serving as sinks for nitrogen oxides and O3 near the surface but as reservoirs of NOx and O3 aloft.

Final-revised paper