Nitrous acid in a street canyon environment: Sources and contributions to local oxidation capacity

Hui Yun, Zhe Wang, Qiaozhi Zha, Weihao Wang, Likun Xue, Li Zhang, Qinyi Li, Long Cui, Shuncheng Lee, Steven C.N. Poon, Tao Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


However, its impact on the chemistry in a street canyon microenvironment has not been thoroughly investigated. In this study, we measured HONO in a street canyon in urban Hong Kong and used an observation-based box model (OBM) with the Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM v3.3.1) to investigate the contribution of HONO to local oxidation chemistry. The observed HONO mixing ratios were in the range of 0.4–13.9 ppbv, with an average of 3.91 ppbv in the daytime and 2.86 ppbv at night. A mean HONO/NOxemission ratio of 1.0% (±0.5%) from vehicle traffic was derived. OBM simulations constrained by the observed HONO showed that the maximum concentrations of OH, HO2, and RO2reached 4.65 × 106, 4.40 × 106, and 1.83 × 106molecules cm−3, which were 7.9, 5.0, and 7.5 times, respectively, the results in the case without HONO constrained. Photolysis of HONO contributed to 86.5% of the total primary radical production rates and led to efficient NO2and O3production under the condition of weak regional transport of O3. The formation of HNO3contributed to 98.4% of the total radical termination rates. Our results suggest that HONO could significantly increase the atmospheric oxidation capacity in a street canyon and enhance the secondary formation of HNO3and HCHO, which can damage outdoor building materials and pose health risks to pedestrians.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-234
Number of pages12
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Nitrous acid (HONO)
  • Observation-based box model
  • Oxidation capacity
  • Roadside
  • Street canyon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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