Vapor Pressures of Solid Hydrates of Nitric Acid: Implications for Polar Stratospheric Clouds

Science  01 Jan 1993:
Vol. 259, Issue 5091, pp. 71-74
DOI: 10.1126/science.259.5091.71


Thermodynamic data are presented for hydrates of nitric acid: HNO3·H2O, HNO3·2H2O, HNO3·3H2O, and a higher hydrate. Laboratory data indicate that nucleation and persistence of metastable HNO3·2H2O may be favored in polar stratospheric clouds over the slightly more stable HNO3·3H2O. Atmospheric observations indicate that some polar stratospheric clouds may be composed of HNO3·2H2O and HNO3·3H2O. Vapor transfer from HNO3·2H2O to HNO3·3H2O could be a key step in the sedimentation of HNO3, which plays an important role in the depletion of polar ozone.

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