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Detectability of acid producing reactions in natural clouds

Atmospheric Environment (1967)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0004-6981(89)90006-1
  • Acid Rain
  • Cloud Water
  • Cloud Chemistry
  • Acid Formation
  • Nitric Acid
  • Sulfuric Acid
  • Hydrogen Peroxide


Abstract Oxidation reactions of SO 2 and NO 2 in clouds are considered important atmospheric acid formation processes. This paper evaluates the feasibility of detecting the occurrence of these oxidation reactions in natural clouds by means of field measurements. This evaluation is performed by calculating the changes expected in reagent and product concentrations resulting from these reactions in representative cloud types, and comparing those changes with concentration differences detectable by available analytical methods in the context of typical atmospheric variability. Four in-cloud oxidation reactions are considered: aqueous-phase reactions of SO 2 with O 3 and with H 2O 2, and gas-phase reactions of NO 2 with OH radical and with O 3, the latter leading to acid formation by reaction of N 2O 5 with cloud liquid water. The cloud types considered are fog, stratus, cumulus and mountain lee wave. This evaluation indicates that oxidation of SO 2 by H 2O 2 should be detectable in a wide variety of cloud conditions, but that oxidation of SO 2 by O 3 is unlikely to be detected by field measurements. Oxidation of NO 2 may be detectable in fog and stratus clouds, which provide long in-cloud residence times. The paper includes discussion of factors which favor or hinder detection of acid producing reactions in clouds, and reviews evidence from published field studies on the occurrence of these reactions.

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