An analysis of large HNO3-containing particles sampled in the Arctic...

Northway, M. J., R. Gao, P. Popp, J. C. Holecek, D. Fahey, K. S. Carslaw, M. Tolbert, L. R. Lait, S. Dhaniyala, R. C. Flagan, P. Wennberg, M. J. Mahoney, R. L. Herman, G. Toon, and T. P. Bui (2002), An analysis of large HNO3-containing particles sampled in the Arctic stratosphere during the winter of 1999/2000, J. Geophys. Res., 107, 8298, doi:10.1029/2001JD001079.

Large (>2 mm diameter) HNO3-containing polar stratospheric cloud (PSC) particles were measured in situ by the NOAA NOy instrument on board the NASA ER-2 aircraft during seven flights in the 1999/2000 Arctic winter vortex. Here we discuss the detection of these large PSC particles, their spatial distribution, the ambient conditions under which they were detected, and our methods for interpreting NOy time series with respect to particle sizes and number concentrations. The particles were observed through the use of two NOy inlets on a particle separator extending below the ER-2 aircraft. The particle phase is assumed to be nitric acid trihydrate (NAT) or nitric acid dihydrate (NAD). Over a 48-day period, particles were sampled in the Arctic vortex over a broad range of latitudes (60– 85°N) and altitudes (15–21 km). Typically, regions of the atmosphere up to 4 km above the observed large particle clouds were saturated with respect to NAT. Occasionally, large particles were measured in air subsaturated with respect to NAT, suggesting ongoing particle evaporation. Vortex minimum temperatures in the observation period suggest that synopticscale ice saturation conditions are not required for the formation of this type of particle. Three analytical methods are used to estimate size and number concentrations from the NOy time series. Results indicate particle sizes between 5 and 20 mm diameter and concentrations from 10-5 to 10-3 cm-3. These low number concentrations imply a selective nucleation mechanism. Particle sizes and number concentrations were greater during the midwinter flights than the late winter flights. Knowledge of the geographical extent of large particles, actual sampling conditions, and particle size distributions offers multiple constraints for atmospheric models of PSC formation, which will lead to a better understanding of the process of denitrification and improvements in modeling future ozone loss.

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Upper Atmosphere Research Program (UARP)