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New knowledge on atmospheric chemistry in boreal forest

New knowledge on atmospheric chemistry in boreal forest

Volatile organic compounds are oxidized in the air participating e.g. on secondary organic aerosol formation. One important group of compounds formed in the oxidation reactions are alkyl nitrates. Recent study showed that the formation of alkyl nitrates in the boreal forest is dominated by reactions of the NO3 radical with terpenes.

Reactions were discovered during the day and the night, with fewer contributions from OH and ozone. Measurements of the NO3 reactivity and the mixing ratio of total alkyl nitrates (ΣANs) in the boreal forest enabled assessment of the relative importance of NO3-, O3- and OH-initiated formation of alkyl nitrates from terpenes in this environment. The alkyl nitrates formed had lifetimes on the order of 2 hours, reflecting efficient loss via uptake to aerosol and deposition.

The study was conducted by Max Planck Institute, University of Helsinki and Finnish Meteorological Institute at SMEAR II station in Hyytiälä, Southern Finland.

More information:

Head of group Heidi Hellén, Finnis Meteorological Institute,

Liebmann, J., Sobanski, N., Schuladen, J., Karu, E., Hellén, H., Hakola, H., Zha, Q., Ehn, M., Riva, M., Heikkinen, L., Williams, J., Fischer, H., Lelieveld, J., and Crowley, J. N.: Alkyl nitrates in the boreal forest: formation via the NO3-, OH- and O3-induced oxidation of biogenic volatile organic compounds and ambient lifetimes, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 10391–10403,, 2019

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