Laboratory Measurements of Heterogeneous Reactions on Sulfuric Acid Surfaces

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  • a SRI International, Menlo Park, California
  • | b CIRES and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of colorado, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

Increasing evidence from field, modeling, and laboratory studies suggests that heterogeneous reactions on stratospheric sulfate aerosol particles may contribute to global ozone depiction. Using a Knudsen cell reactor technique, the authors have studied the uptake, reactivity, and solubility of several trace atmospheric species on cold sulfuric acid surfaces representative of stratospheric aerosol particles. The results suggest that the heterogeneous conversion of N2O5 to HNO3 is fast enough to significantly affect the partitioning of nitrogen species in the global stratosphere and thus contribute to global ozone depletion. The hydrolysis of ClONO2 is slower and unlikely to be important under normal conditions at midlatitudes. The solubilities of HCl and HNO3 in sulfuric acid down to 200 K were found to be quite low. For HCl, this means that little HCl is available for reaction on the surfaces of stratospheric sulfate aerosol particles. The low solubility of HNO3 means that this product of heterogeneous reactions will enter the gas phase, and the denitrification observed in polar regions is unlikely to occur in the global stratosphere.

Abstract

Increasing evidence from field, modeling, and laboratory studies suggests that heterogeneous reactions on stratospheric sulfate aerosol particles may contribute to global ozone depiction. Using a Knudsen cell reactor technique, the authors have studied the uptake, reactivity, and solubility of several trace atmospheric species on cold sulfuric acid surfaces representative of stratospheric aerosol particles. The results suggest that the heterogeneous conversion of N2O5 to HNO3 is fast enough to significantly affect the partitioning of nitrogen species in the global stratosphere and thus contribute to global ozone depletion. The hydrolysis of ClONO2 is slower and unlikely to be important under normal conditions at midlatitudes. The solubilities of HCl and HNO3 in sulfuric acid down to 200 K were found to be quite low. For HCl, this means that little HCl is available for reaction on the surfaces of stratospheric sulfate aerosol particles. The low solubility of HNO3 means that this product of heterogeneous reactions will enter the gas phase, and the denitrification observed in polar regions is unlikely to occur in the global stratosphere.

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