The observation of nitric acid-containing particles in the tropical lower...

The core information for this publication's citation.: 
Popp, P., T. Marcy, E. Jensen, B. Kärcher, D. Fahey, R. Gao, T. Thompson, K. Rosenlof, E. Richard, R. L. Herman, E. Weinstock, J. B. Smith, R. May, H. Vömel, J. Wilson, A. Heymsfield, M. J. Mahoney, and A. M. Thompson (2006), The observation of nitric acid-containing particles in the tropical lower stratosphere, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 6, 601-611, doi:10.5194/acp-6-601-2006.
Abstract: 

Airborne in situ measurements over the eastern Pacific Ocean in January 2004 have revealed a new category of nitric acid (HNO3 )-containing particles in the tropical lower stratosphere. These particles are most likely composed of nitric acid trihydrate (NAT). They were intermittently observed in a narrow layer above the tropopause (18±0.1 km) and over a broad geographic extent (>1100 km). In contrast to the background liquid sulfate aerosol, these particles are solid, much larger (1.7–4.7 µm vs. 0.1 µm in diameter), and significantly less abundant (<10−4 cm−3 vs. 10 cm−3 ). Microphysical trajectory models suggest that the NAT particles grow over a 6–14 day period in supersaturated air that remains close to the tropical tropopause and might be a common feature in the tropics. The small number density of these particles implies a highly selective or slow nucleation process. Understanding the formation of solid NAT particles in the tropics could improve our understanding of stratospheric nucleation processes and, therefore, dehydration and denitrification.

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Research Program: 
Upper Atmosphere Research Program (UARP)
Mission: 
SHADOZ