Snowpack photochemical production of HONO: A major source of OH in the Arctic boundary layer in springtime

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Both snow manipulation experiments and ambient measurements during the Polar Sunrise Experiment 2000 at Alert (Alert2000) indicate intensive photochemical production of nitrous acid (HONO) in the snowpack. This process constitutes a major HONO source for the overlying atmospheric boundary layer in the Arctic during the springtime, and sustained concentrations of HONO high enough that upon photolysis they became the dominant hydroxyl radical (OH) source. This implies a much greater role for OH radicals in Arctic polar sunrise chemistry than previously believed. Although the observations were made in the high Arctic, this finding has a significant implication for the boundary layer atmospheric chemistry in Antarctica during sunlit seasons and in the mid to high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere during the winter and spring seasons when approximately 50% of the land mass may be covered by snow.

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Geophysical Research Letters