Gas phase nitric acid (HNO3) was measured at 5-min resolution on board the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research vessel Ronald H. Brown during the second leg (29 July to 10 August) of the New England Air Quality Study (NEAQS) 2002 cruise. A primary objective of the cruise was to improve understanding of the oxidation of NOx in, and removal of the oxidation products from, the polluted marine boundary layer east of northeastern North America. For the first 9 days of this leg the ship remained north of Cape Cod, and the cruise track did not extend much farther north than the New Hampshire-Maine border. During this period, HNO3 averaged 1.1 ppb and accounted for 19% of total reactive nitrogen oxides (measured NOy). On all days, peak HNO3 mixing ratios were observed in the early afternoon (average 2.3 ppb), at levels twofold to fourfold higher than the minima around sunrise and sunset. In these daytime peaks, HNO3/NOy averaged 28%. There were secondary nighttime peaks of HNO3 (0.9 ppb average), when HNO3 accounted for 16% of total reactive nitrogen oxides. This pronounced diurnal pattern confirms that production, and subsequent deposition, of HNO3 in the polluted marine boundary layer downwind of New England removes a significant fraction of the NOx exported to the atmosphere over the Gulf of Maine. Nitric acid was correlated with O3, particularly during the early afternoon interval when both molecules reached maximum mixing ratios (R2 = 0.66). The ozone production efficiency (OPE) inferred from the slope (10 ppb O3/ppb HNO3) was similar to the OPE of 9 estimated at the Atmospheric Investigation, Regional Modeling, Analysis and Prediction (AIRMAP) Thompson Farm station in coastal New Hampshire during the study period.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

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Journal of Geophysical Research



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Copyright 2004 by the American Geophysical Union.