Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Engineering (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Paul V. Doskey


This work presents a 1-D process scale model used to investigate the chemical dynamics and temporal variability of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and ozone (O3) within and above snowpack at Summit, Greenland for March-May 2009 and estimates surface exchange of NOx between the snowpack and surface layer in April-May 2009. The model assumes the surface of snowflakes have a Liquid Like Layer (LLL) where aqueous chemistry occurs and interacts with the interstitial air of the snowpack. Model parameters and initialization are physically and chemically representative of snowpack at Summit, Greenland and model results are compared to measurements of NOx and O3 collected by our group at Summit, Greenland from 2008-2010.

The model paired with measurements confirmed the main hypothesis in literature that photolysis of nitrate on the surface of snowflakes is responsible for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) production in the top ~50 cm of the snowpack at solar noon for March – May time periods in 2009. Nighttime peaks of NO2 in the snowpack for April and May were reproduced with aqueous formation of peroxynitric acid (HNO4) in the top ~50 cm of the snowpack with subsequent mass transfer to the gas phase, decomposition to form NO2 at nighttime, and transportation of the NO2 to depths of 2 meters. Modeled production of HNO4 was hindered in March 2009 due to the low production of its precursor, hydroperoxy radical, resulting in underestimation of nighttime NO2 in the snowpack for March 2009. The aqueous reaction of O3 with formic acid was the major sync of O3 in the snowpack for March-May, 2009. Nitrogen monoxide (NO) production in the top ~50 cm of the snowpack is related to the photolysis of NO2, which underrepresents NO in May of 2009. Modeled surface exchange of NOx in April and May are on the order of 1011 molecules m-2 s-1. Removal of measured downward fluxes of NO and NO2 in measured fluxes resulted in agreement between measured NOx fluxes and modeled surface exchange in April and an order of magnitude deviation in May. Modeled transport of NOx above the snowpack in May shows an order of magnitude increase of NOx fluxes in the first 50 cm of the snowpack and is attributed to the production of NO2 during the day from the thermal decomposition and photolysis of peroxynitric acid with minor contributions of NO from HONO photolysis in the early morning.