Special Articles

Heterogeneous and Multiphase Chemistry in the Troposphere

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Science  16 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5315, pp. 1058-1065
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5315.1058

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Heterogeneous and multiphase reactions on solids and in liquids, respectively, have the potential to play a major role in determining the composition of the gaseous troposphere and should be included in models for understanding this region and assessing the effects of anthropogenic emissions. Making a distinction between reactions on solids (heterogeneous reactions) and those occurring in liquid droplets (multiphase reactions) is convenient for understanding, describing, and including them in models of the troposphere. Frameworks are available for including multiphase reactions in numerical models, but they do not yet exist for heterogeneous reactions. For most of these reactions, water not only provides the medium but it is also a reactant. Other substrates such as sulfate and organic and sea-salt aerosols may also be important, but their effects cannot currently be accurately assessed because of a lack of information on their abundance, nature, and reactivities. Our ability to accurately predict the composition of the troposphere will depend on advances in understanding the microphysics of particle formation, laboratory investigations of heterogeneous and multiphase reactions, and collection of field data on tropospheric particles.

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