Chemical Analysis of Polar Stratospheric Cloud Particles

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Science  12 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5404, pp. 968-970
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5404.968

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A balloon-borne gondola carrying a particle analysis system, a backscatter sonde, and pressure and temperature sensors was launched from Kiruna, Sweden, on 25 January 1998. Measurements within polar stratospheric cloud layers inside the Arctic polar vortex show a close correlation between large backscatter ratios and enhanced particle-related water and nitric acid signals at low temperatures. Periodic structures in the data indicate the presence of lee waves. The H2O/HNO3 molar ratios are consistently found to be above 10 at atmospheric temperatures between 189 and 192 kelvin. Such high ratios indicate ternary solution particles of H2O, HNO3, and H2SO4rather than the presence of solid hydrates.

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