07 Mar 2022
07 Mar 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Distribution of hydrogen peroxide over Europe during the BLUESKY aircraft campaign

Zaneta Teresa Hamryszczak1, Andrea Pozzer1, Florian Obersteiner2, Birger Bohn3, Benedikt Steil1, Jos Lelieveld1,4, and Horst Fischer1 Zaneta Teresa Hamryszczak et al.
  • 1Atmospheric Chemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, 55128, Germany
  • 2Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, 76131, Germany
  • 3Institute of Energy and Climate Research, IEK-8: Troposphere, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Jülich, 52428, Germany
  • 4Climate and Atmosphere Research Center, The Cyprus Institute, Nicosia, 1645, Cyprus

Abstract. In this work we present airborne in situ trace gas observations of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and methyl hydroperoxide (MHP) estimated from measurements of the sum of organic hydroperoxides over Europe during the Chemistry of the Atmosphere – Field Experiments in Europe (CAFE-EU, also known as BLUESKY) aircraft campaign. The campaign took place in May/June 2020 over Central and Southern Europe with two additional flights dedicated to the North Atlantic Flight Corridor. Airborne measurements were performed on the High Altitude and LOng-range (HALO) research operating out of Oberpfaffenhofen (Germany). We report average mixing ratios for H2O2 of 0.32 ± 0.25 ppbv, 0.39 ± 0.23 ppbv and 0.38 ± 0.21 ppbv within the upper and middle troposphere and the boundary layer over Europe, respectively. Vertical profiles of measured H2O2 reveal a significant decrease in particular above the boundary layer, compared to previous observations, most likely due to cloud scavenging and subsequent rainout of soluble species. In general, the expected inverted c-shaped vertical trend with maximum hydrogen peroxide mixing ratios at 3 – 7 km was not found during BLUESKY. This contrasts with observations during previous air-borne studies over Europe, i.e., 1.64 ± 0.83 ppbv during the HOOVER campaign and 1.67 ± 0.97 ppbv during UTOPIHAN-ACT II/III. Simulations with the global chemistry-transport model EMAC partly reproduce the strong effect of rainout loss on the vertical profile of H2O2. A sensitivity study without H2O2 scavenging performed using EMAC confirms the strong influence of clouds and precipitation scavenging on hydrogen peroxide concentrations. Differences between model simulations and observations are most likely due to difficulties in the simulation of wet scavenging processes due to the limited model resolution.

Zaneta Teresa Hamryszczak et al.

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Zaneta Teresa Hamryszczak et al.

Zaneta Teresa Hamryszczak et al.


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Short summary
Hydrogen peroxide plays a pivotal role in the chemistry of the atmosphere. Together with organic hydroperoxides, it forms a reservoir for peroxy radicals, which are known to be the key contributors to the self-cleaning processes of the atmosphere. Hydroperoxides were measured over Europe during the BLUESKY campaign in May/June 2020. The paper gives an overview of the distribution of the species in the troposphere and investigates the impact of wet scavenging and deposition on the budget of H2O2.