Direct Evidence for a Marine Source of C1 and C2 Alkyl Nitrates

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Science  16 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5584, pp. 1151-1154
DOI: 10.1126/science.1073896

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Alkyl nitrates are a significant component of the “odd nitrogen” reservoir and play an important role in regulating tropospheric ozone levels in remote marine regions. Measurements of methyl and ethyl nitrate in seawater and air samples along two Atlantic Ocean transects provide the first direct evidence for an oceanic source of these compounds. Equatorial surface waters were highly supersaturated (up to 800%) in both species, with the waters in the temperate regions generally being closer to equilibrium. A simple box model calculation suggests that the equatorial source could be a major component of the local atmospheric alkyl nitrate budget.

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