Atmospheric nitrous acid (HONO) at a rural coastal site in North China: Seasonal variations and effects of biomass burning

Rongrong Gu, Penggang Zheng, Tianshu Chen, Can Dong, Ya'nan Wang, Yiming Liu, Yuhong Liu, Yuanyuan Luo, Guangxuan Han, Xinfeng Wang, Xuehua Zhou, Tao Wang, Wenxing Wang, Likun Xue

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Nitrous acid (HONO) plays a significant role in atmospheric chemistry due to its contribution to hydroxyl radical (OH). However, no scientific consensus has been achieved about the daytime HONO formation mechanisms. To identify the seasonal variations of HONO chemistry and the impacts of biomass burning (BB), we performed a two-phased field study in winter-spring and summer (covering a harvest season) in 2017 at a rural coastal site in North China. Though the mean HONO concentration in winter-spring (0.26 ± 0.28 ppbv) was higher than in summer (0.17 ± 0.19 ppbv), the maximum HONO concentrations were comparable (~2 ppbv) in the two campaigns. Both the HONO/NOx ratio and nocturnal heterogeneous conversion efficiency of HONO (CHONO) in summer were over twice of that in winter-spring. The daytime budget analysis also revealed that the strength of Pother (i.e., the HONO sources apart from the reaction of OH + NO) in summer was double of that in winter-spring. BB affected the HONO concentration by enhancing the contribution of heterogeneous HONO production on the aerosol surface but weakening the role of photo-related HONO formation. HONO photolysis was a significant source of OH in both winter-spring and summer, and its contribution could be further enhanced during the BB episode in summer. Our study demonstrates the significant seasonal variations of HONO and the effects of BB, and suggests needs for more multi-season observations and considerations of BB, especially during the harvest time, in HONO research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117429
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2020


  • Biomass burning
  • Hydroxyl radical
  • Nitrous acid
  • North China
  • Seasonal variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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