Urban inland wintertime N2O5 and ClNO2 influenced by snow-covered ground, air turbulence, and precipitation

Kathryn D. Kulju, Stephen M. McNamara, Qianjie Chen, Hannah S. Kenagy, Jacinta Edebeli, Jose D. Fuentes, Steven B. Bertman, Kerri A. Pratt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The atmospheric multiphase reaction of dinitrogen pentoxide (N2O5) with chloride-containing aerosol particles produces nitryl chloride (ClNO2), which has been observed across the globe. The photolysis of ClNO2 produces chlorine radicals and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which alter pollutant fates and air quality. However, the effects of local meteorology on near-surface ClNO2 production are not yet well understood, as most observational and modeling studies focus on periods of clear conditions. During a field campaign in Kalamazoo, Michigan, from January-February 2018, N2O5 and ClNO2 were measured using chemical ionization mass spectrometry, with simultaneous measurements of atmospheric particulate matter and meteorological parameters. We examine the impacts of atmospheric turbulence, precipitation (snow, rain) and fog, and ground cover (snow-covered and bare ground) on the abundances of ClNO2 and N2O5. N2O5 mole ratios were lowest during periods of lower turbulence and were not statistically significantly different between snow-covered and bare ground. In contrast, ClNO2 mole ratios were highest, on average, over snow-covered ground, due to saline snowpack ClNO2 production. Both N2O5 and ClNO2 mole ratios were lowest, on average, during rainfall and fog because of scavenging, with N2O5 scavenging by fog droplets likely contributing to observed increased particulate nitrate concentrations. These observations, specifically those during active precipitation and with snow-covered ground, highlight important processes, including N2O5 and ClNO2 wet scavenging, fog nitrate production, and snowpack ClNO2 production, that govern the variability in observed atmospheric chlorine and nitrogen chemistry and are missed when considering only clear conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2553-2568
Number of pages16
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 25 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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