Global Impact of Lightning-Produced Oxidants

Jingqiu Mao, Tianlang Zhao, Christoph A. Keller, Xuan Wang, Patrick J. McFarland, Jena M. Jenkins, William H. Brune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Lightning plays a major role in tropospheric oxidation, and its role on modulating tropospheric chemistry was thought to be emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). Recent field and laboratory measurements demonstrate that lightning generates extremely large amounts of oxidants, including hydrogen oxides (HOx) and O3. Here, we implement these lightning-produced oxidants in a global chemical transport model to examine its global impact on tropospheric composition. We find that lightning-produced oxidants can increase global mass weighted OH by 0.3%–10% and affect CO, O3, and reactive nitrogen substantially, depending on the emission strength of oxidants from lightning. Our work highlights the importance and uncertainties of lightning-produced oxidants, as well as the need for rethinking the role of lightning in tropospheric oxidation chemistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021GL095740
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 16 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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