Sources of HOx and production of ozone in the upper troposphere over the United States

L. Jaeglé, D. J. Jacob, W. H. Brune, D. Tan, I. C. Faloona, A. J. Weinheimer, B. A. Ridley, T. L. Campos, G. W. Sachse

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100 Scopus citations


The sources of HOx (OH+peroxy radicals) and the associated production of ozone at 8-12 km over the United States are examined by modeling observations of OH, HO2, NO, and other species during the SUCCESS aircraft campaign in April-May 1996. The HOx concentrations measured in SUCCESS are up to a factor of 3 higher than can be calculated from oxidation of water vapor and photolysis of acetone. The highest discrepancy was seen in the outflow of a convective storm. We show that convective injection of peroxides (CH3OOH and H2O2) and formaldehyde (CH2O) from the boundary layer to the upper troposphere could resolve this discrepancy. More generally, the data collected over the central United States during SUCCESS suggest that local convection was a major source of HOx and NOx to the upper troposphere. The OH and HO2 observations together with the observations of NO allow us to directly calculate the ozone production in the upper troposphere and its dependence on NOx. We find an average net ozone production of 2 ppbv day-1 between 8 and 12 km over the continental United States in the spring. Ozone production was NOx-limited under essentially all the conditions encountered in SUCCESS. The high levels of HOx present in the upper troposphere stimulate ozone production and increase the sensitivity of ozone to NOx emissions from aircraft and other sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1709-1712
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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