The fate of atmospheric organic nitrates

Amanda L Lockwood, Purdue University


Isoprene (2-methyl-1,3-butadiene) is the dominant biogenic volatile organic compound emitted into the atmosphere at 500-750 Tg yr -1. Isoprene is emitted by plants and readily reacts with hydroxyl radicals (OH), ozone (O3), and NO3 in the atmosphere. The products of these include hydroxy nitrates (isoprene nitrates) and NO 2, which can go on to form ozone or be recycled back into the NO/NO 2 cycle. However, when isoprene nitrates are produced instead of NO 2, the NOx (NO + NO2) is sequestered, the chain is terminated, and ozone is not formed. These isoprene nitrates and other organic nitrogen compounds, such as PAN (peroxyacetyl nitrate, RC(O)OONO 2) and organic nitrates (RONO2) can deposit and impact the natural nitrogen cycle. In forest environments, nitrogen that is deposited and retained can increase photosynthesis and growth, especially in N-limited environments. These nitrogen compounds can directly affect global climate change by reacting to form ozone and indirectly by providing nitrogen to the biosphere causing an increase in carbon sequestration. Vegetation can act as an important sink for atmospheric pollutants, such as CO2 and oxidized nitrogen, because they have many highly reactive surfaces available for deposition, making the atmosphere and biosphere important factors in global climate change.




Shepson, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Atmospheric Chemistry|Analytical chemistry|Atmospheric sciences

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