Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-707
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-707

  22 Sep 2021

22 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Redistribution of total reactive nitrogen in the lowermost Arctic stratosphere during the cold winter 2015/2016

Helmut Ziereis1, Peter Hoor2, Jens-Uwe Grooß3, Andreas Zahn4, Greta Stratmann1,a, Paul Stock1, Michael Lichtenstern1, Jens Krause2,b, Armin Afchine3, Christian Rolf3, Wolfgang Woiwode4, Marleen Braun4, Jörn Ungermann3, Andreas Marsing1,2, Christiane Voigt1,2, Andreas Engel5, Björn-Martin Sinnhuber4, and Hermann Oelhaf4 Helmut Ziereis et al.
  • 11 Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 2Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Mainz, Germany
  • 3Institut für Energie- und Klimaforschung – Stratosphäre (IEK-7), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany
  • 4Institut für Meteorologie und Klimaforschung, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 5Institut für Atmosphäre und Umwelt, Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany
  • anow at: Deutsches Elektronen–Synchrotron (DESY), Hamburg, Germany
  • bnow at: Deutsches Elektronen–Synchrotron (DESY), Hamburg, Germany

Abstract. During winter 2015/2016 the Arctic stratosphere was characterized by extraordinarily low temperatures in connection with the occurrence of extensive polar stratospheric clouds. From mid of December 2015 until mid of March 2016 the German research aircraft HALO (High Altitude and Long–Range Research Aircraft) was deployed to probe the lowermost stratosphere in the Arctic region within the POLSTRACC (Polar Stratosphere in a Changing Climate) mission. More than twenty flights have been conducted out of Kiruna/Sweden and Oberpfaffenhofen/Germany, covering the whole winter period. Besides total reactive nitrogen (NOy), observations of nitrous oxide, nitric acid, ozone and water were used for this study. Total reactive nitrogen and its partitioning between gas- and particle phase are key parameters for understanding processes controlling the ozone budget in the polar winter stratosphere. The redistribution of total reactive nitrogen was evaluated by using tracer–tracer correlations. In January air masses with extensive nitrification were encountered at altitudes between 12 and 15 km. The excess NOy amounted up to about 6 ppb. During several flights, along with gas–phase nitrification, indications for extensive occurrence of nitric acid containing particles at flight altitude were found. These observations support the assumption of sedimentation and subsequent evaporation of nitric acid containing particles leading to redistribution of total reactive nitrogen. Remnants of nitrified air masses have been observed until mid of March. Between end of February and mid of March also de-nitrified air masses have been observed in connection with high potential temperatures. Using tracer–tracer correlations, missing total reactive nitrogen was estimated to amount up to 6 ppb. This indicates the downward transport of air masses that have been denitrified during the earlier winter phase. Observations within POLSTRACC, at the bottom of the vortex, reflect heterogeneous processes from the overlying Arctic winter stratosphere. The comparison of the observations with CLaMS model simulations confirm and complete the picture arising from the present measurements. The simulations confirm, that the ensemble of all observations is representative for the vortex–wide vertical NOy-redistribution.

Helmut Ziereis et al.

Status: open (until 03 Nov 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Review of Ziereis et al., 2021', Anonymous Referee #1, 20 Oct 2021 reply

Helmut Ziereis et al.

Helmut Ziereis et al.

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Short summary
Aircraft borne observations were conducted in the lowermost Arctic stratosphere during the winter of 2015/2016. The observed distribution of reactive nitrogen shows clear indications of nitrification in mid-winter and de-nitrification in late winter. This was caused by the formation of polar stratospheric cloud particles, which were observed during several flights. The sedimentation and evaporation of these particles and the descent of air masses cause a redistribution of reactive nitrogen.
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