Instrumental Requirements for Global Atmospheric Chemistry

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Science  05 Oct 1990:
Vol. 250, Issue 4977, pp. 75-81
DOI: 10.1126/science.250.4977.75


The field of atmospheric chemistry is data-limited, primarily because of the challenge of measuring the key chemical constituents in the global environment. Several recent advances, however, in rugged, portable, remotesensing, ground-based instrumentation and accurate, fast-response airborne instrumentation have provided powerful tools for the understanding of stratospheric ozone, particularly in polar regions. Current discoveries of the role of heterogeneous chemical processes point to the need for better techniques for characterization of stratospheric aerosols. In the troposphere, advances in in situ, sensitive methods for detecting reactive nitrogen compounds have demonstrated the role that these compounds have in controlling global oxidation processes, but better measurements of the reservoir species by which the long-ranged transport of pollutant-reactive nitrogen compounds is thought to occur are urgently needed. The role of hydrocarbons, particularly those of natural origin, in ozone formation in rural areas has focused attention on the requirement for better speciation of these ubiquitous compounds. Lastly, rigorous instrument intercomparison experiments have provided unbiased estimates of measurement capabilities.

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