Evidence for New Sources of NOX in the Lower Atmosphere

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Science  09 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5348, pp. 211-213
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5348.211

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Laboratory studies show that the reaction of short-lived O2(B3Σu) molecules (lifetime ∼10 picoseconds) with N2 and the photodissociation of the N2:O2 dimer produce NOxin the stratosphere at a rate comparable to the oxidation of N2O by O(1 D). This finding implies the existence of unidentified NOX sinks in the stratosphere. The NO2 observed in this experiment is isotopically heavy with a large 15N/14N enhancement. However, photodissociation of this NO2unexpectedly produced NO molecules with a low15N/14N ratio. The diurnal odd-nitrogen cycle in the stratosphere will be marked by a complex isotope signature that will be imprinted on the halogen and HOXcatalytic cycles.

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