Peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN) was measured in ambient and snowpack interstitial air at Summit, Greenland, in June and July of 1998 and 1999 and at a rural/forest site in the Keewenaw Peninsula of Michigan in January of 1999. At Summit, we found that PAN typically represented between 30 and 60% of NOy. In the summer of 1999, a significant diel variation in both PAN/NOy and NOx/NOy was observed, but this was much less pronounced in 1998. Experiments during SNOW99 near Houghton, Michigan, indicated that PAN undergoes weak uptake onto snow grain surfaces. At Summit, we found that PAN concentrations in the snowpack interstitial air were significantly elevated (by as much as 2–5 times) relative to ambient levels, implying a flux of PAN out of the snowpack during the study period. We also observed evidence that PAN can be photochemically produced in snow that is exposed to polluted air. These observations indicate that interactions with the snowpack can have a significant impact on PAN concentrations in the boundary layer and point to potential difficulties associated with investigation of long-term changes in PAN uptake into ice cores because of the impact of postdepositional processes.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

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Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres



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Copyright 2002 by the American Geophysical Union.