The partitioning of nitrogen oxides in the lower Arctic troposphere during spring 1988

Jan W. Bottenheim, Leonard A. Barrie, Elliot Atlas

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72 Scopus citations


Surface observations of several nitrogen oxides in the Canadian high Arctic during the period March-April 1988 are reported. These include data on NO2, the inorganic nitrates HNO3 and particulate nitrate, and the organic nitrates PAN and C3-C7 alkyl-nitrates. It is found that the organic nitrates make up 70-80% of the sum of the measured nitrogen oxides. Based on concurrently measured sulphur oxides, the period of observation was divided into two halves with the first half representing less polluted, more aged air than the second. The preponderance of the organic nitrates was less in the first period than the second. In contrast, there was little difference in the inorganic nitrates and NO2 concentrations. The dominant inorganic nitrate shifted from particulate nitrate in the first period towards gaseous HNO3 in the second. No correlation between the nitrates (inorganic or organic) and O3 was observed; although some indication of a positive correlation between NO2 and O3 has been reported earlier (Bottenheim et al., 1990). Possible explanations for these observations are proposed. A survey of other potential nitrogen oxides that may be present in the Arctic air but not measured in these experiments suggests that the nitrogen oxides not measured here constitute a minor fraction of the total reactive nitrogen (NOy).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Atmospheric Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Arctic atmosphere
  • Nitrogen oxides
  • inorganic nitrate
  • organic nitrate
  • ozone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Atmospheric Science


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