Possible particulate nitrite formation and its atmospheric implications inferred from the observations in Seoul, Korea

Chul H. Song, Mi E. Park, En J. Lee, Jae H. Lee, Bo K. Lee, Dong S. Lee, Jhoon Kim, Jin S. Han, Kwang J. Moon, Yutaka Kondo

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Simultaneous measurements of gaseous species and fine-mode, particulate inorganic components were performed at the University of Seoul, Seoul in Korea. In the simultaneous measurements, a certain level of nitrous acid (HONO) was observed in the gas-phase, indicating possible heterogeneous HONO production on the surface of the ambient aerosols. On the other hand, high particulate nitrite (NO2-) concentrations of 1.41(±2.26) μg/m3 were also measured, which sometimes reached 18.54 μg/m3. In contrast, low HONO-to-NO2 ratios of 0.007(±0.006) were observed in Seoul. This indicates that a significant fraction of HONO is dissolved in atmospheric aerosols. Around the Seoul site, sufficient alkalinity may have been provided to the atmospheric aerosols from the excessive presence of NH3 in the gas-phase. Due to the alkaline particulate conditions (defined in this study as a particle pH >∼3.29), the HONO molecules produced at the surface of the atmospheric aerosols appeared to have been converted into particulate nitrite, thereby preventing their further participation in the atmospheric O3/NOy/HOx photochemical cycles. It was estimated that a minimum average of 65% of HONO was captured by alkaline, anthropogenic, urban particles in the Seoul measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2168-2173
Number of pages6
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Apr

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Korea Ministry of Environment as an Eco-technopia 21 project under grant 121-071-055.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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