NOy-N2O correlation observed inside the Arctic vortex in February 1997: Dynamical and chemical effects

Y. Kondo, M. Koike, A. Engel, U. Schmidt, M. Mueller, T. Sugita, H. Kanzawa, T. Nakazawa, S. Aoki, H. Irie, N. Toriyama, T. Suzuki, Y. Sasano

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37 Citations (Scopus)


Simultaneous balloon-borne in situ measurements of total reactive nitrogen (NOy) and nitrous oxide (N2O) were made up to 29 km over Kiruna, Sweden (68° N, 21° E) on February 10 and 25, 1997. Kiruna was located at the edge or inside of the Arctic vortex at potential temperatures between 475 (∼19 km) and 675 K (∼26 km). Below 500 K (∼21 km) the N2O values were >120 ppbv on both days, and the observed NOy mixing ratios agreed well with those calculated using the NOy-N2O correlation previously obtained at northern midlatitudes. An exception was a sharp dip in NOy at 445 K (18.4 km) observed on February 25. Back trajectory analyses indicate that this layer had experienced cold temperatures close to ice saturation, i.e., favorable conditions for denitrification. Between 500 and 600 K (∼24 km) the N2O values were <120 ppbv, and the observed NOy values were some 4-6 ppbv lower than those calculated using the midlatitude NOy-N2O correlation, which includes the NOy reduction due to the N + NO reaction. The temperatures in the Arctic winter above 550 K were too high to cause extensive denitrification. The combined processes of (1) diabatic descent and (2) quasi-horizontal mixing of vortex air are likely causes of the anomalous NOy-N2O correlation. The CH4-N2O correlation obtained inside the Arctic vortex in February 1997 also supports this hypothesis. A similar anomalous NOy-N2O correlation was observed from the ER-2 measurements and from the atmospheric trace molecule spectroscopy ATLAS 2 measurements made inside the vortex in the winters of 1991-1992 and 1992-1993.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1999JD900020
Pages (from-to)8215-8224
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue numberD7
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Apr 20
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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