Fast heterogeneous loss of N 2 O 5 leads to significant nighttime NO x removal and nitrate aerosol formation at a coastal background environment of southern China

Chao Yan, Yee Jun Tham, Qiaozhi Zha, Xinfeng Wang, Likun Xue, Jianing Dai, Zhe Wang, Tao Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Nitrate radical (NO 3 ) and dinitrogen pentoxide (N 2 O 5 ) play crucial roles in the nocturnal atmosphere. To quantify their impacts, we deployed a thermal-dissociation chemical ionization mass spectrometry (TD-CIMS), to measure their concentration, as well as ClNO 2 at a coastal background site in the southern of China during the late autumn of 2012. Moderate levels of NO 3 , N 2 O 5 and high concentration of ClNO 2 were observed during the study period, indicating active NO x -O 3 chemistry in the region. Distinct features of NO 3 , N 2 O 5 and ClNO 2 mixing ratios were observed in different airmasses. Further analysis revealed that the N 2 O 5 heterogeneous reaction was the dominant loss of N 2 O 5 and NO 3 , which showed higher loss rate compared to that in other coastal sites. Especially, the N 2 O 5 loss rates could reach up to 0.0139 s −1 when airmasses went across the sea. The fast heterogeneous loss of N 2 O 5 led to rapid NO x loss which could be comparable to the daytime process through NO 2 oxidization by OH, and on the other hand, to rapid nitrate aerosol formation. In summary, our results revealed that the N 2 O 5 hydrolysis could play significant roles in regulating the air quality by reducing NO x but forming nitrate aerosols.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-647
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2019


  • Dinitrogen pentoxide
  • N O heterogeneous reaction
  • Nitrate aerosols
  • NO removal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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