Alkyl nitrates in outflow from North America over the North Atlantic during Intercontinental Transport of Ozone and Precursors 2004



[1] This paper is based on alkyl nitrate measurements made over the North Atlantic as part of the International Consortium for Research on Atmospheric Transport and Transformation (ICARTT). The focus is on the analysis of air samples collected on the UK BAe-146 aircraft during the Intercontinental Transport of Ozone and Precursors (ITOP) project, but air samples collected on board the NASA DC-8 and NOAA WP-3D aircraft as part of a Lagrangian experiment are also used. The ratios between the alkyl nitrates and their parent hydrocarbons are compared with those expected from chemical theory. Further, a box model is run to investigate the temporal evolution of the alkyl nitrates in three Lagrangian case studies and compared to observations. The air samples collected during ITOP do not appear to be strongly influenced by oceanic sources, but rather are influenced by emissions from the N.E. United States and from Alaskan fires. There also appears to be a widespread common source of ethyl nitrate and 1-propyl nitrate other than from their parent hydrocarbons. The general agreement between the alkyl nitrate data and photochemical theory suggests that during the first few days of transport from the source region, photochemical production of alkyl nitrates, and thus ozone, had taken place. The observations in the more photochemically processed air masses are consistent with the alkyl nitrate production reactions no longer dominating the peroxy radical self/cross reactions. Further, the results also suggest that the rates of photochemical processing in the Alaskan smoke plumes were small.