Aqueous-phase photochemical formation of peroxides in authentic cloud and fog waters

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  02 Apr 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5104, pp. 73-75
DOI: 10.1126/science.8465202


Gas-to-drop partitioning of hydrogen peroxide and its precursor, the hydroperoxyl radical (HO2.), has been considered the predominant or sole source of hydrogen peroxide in atmospheric water drops. However, atmospheric water can absorb solar ultraviolet radiation, which initiates the photoformation of peroxides (primarily hydrogen peroxide). Measurements of peroxide photoformation rates in authentic atmospheric water samples demonstrate that aqueous-phase photochemical reactions are a significant, and in some cases dominant, source of hydrogen peroxide to cloud and fog drops. This additional source could significantly change the current understanding, and hence, the models, of sulfuric acid deposition because hydrogen peroxide is the limiting reagent in the dominant pathway for the oxidation of sulfur dioxide to sulfuric acid in the troposphere over eastern North America.