Observations of nitryl chloride and modeling its source and effect on ozone in the planetary boundary layer of southern China

Tao Wang, Yee Jun Tham, Likun Xue, Qinyi Li, Qiaozhi Zha, Zhe Wang, Steven C.N. Poon, William P. Dubé, Donald R. Blake, Peter K.K. Louie, Connie W.Y. Luk, Wilson Tsui, Steven S. Brown

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


Nitryl chloride (ClNO2) plays potentially important roles in atmospheric chemistry, but its abundance and effect are not fully understood due to the small number of ambient observations of ClNO2to date. In late autumn 2013, ClNO2was measured with a chemical ionization mass spectrometer (CIMS) at a mountain top (957 m above sea level) in Hong Kong. During 12 nights with continuous CIMS data, elevated mixing ratios of ClNO2(>400 parts per trillion by volume) or its precursor N2O5(>1000 pptv) were observed on six nights, with the highest ever reported ClNO2(4.7 ppbv, 1 min average) and N2O5(7.7 ppbv, 1 min average) in one case. Backward particle dispersion calculations driven by winds simulated with a mesoscale meteorological model show that the ClNO2/N2O5-laden air at the high-elevation site was due to transport of urban/industrial pollution north of the site. The highest ClNO2/N2O5case was observed in a later period of the night and was characterized with extensively processed air and with the presence of nonoceanic chloride. A chemical box model with detailed chlorine chemistry was used to assess the possible impact of the ClNO2in the well-processed regional plume on next day ozone, as the air mass continued to downwind locations. The results show that the ClNO2could enhance ozone by 5–16% at the ozone peak or 11–41% daytime ozone production in the following day. This study highlights varying importance of the ClNO2chemistry in polluted environments and the need to consider this process in photochemical models for prediction of ground-level ozone and haze.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2476-2489
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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