Normal Atmosphere: Large Radical and Formaldehyde Concentrations Predicted

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Science  09 Jul 1971:
Vol. 173, Issue 3992, pp. 141-143
DOI: 10.1126/science.173.3992.141


A steady-state model of the normal (unpolluted) surface atmosphere predicts a daytime concentration of hydroxyl, hydroperoxyl, and methylperoxyl radicals approaching 5 x 108molecules per cubic centimeter and a formaldehyde concentration of 5 x 1010 molecules per cubic centimeter or 2 parts per billion. A radical chain reaction is proposed for the rapid removal of carbon monoxide, leading to a carbon monoxide lifetime as low as 0.2 year in the surface atmosphere.