Formation of sulfuric and nitric acid in the atmosphere during long-range transport

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A simple photochemical model has been used to simulate the formation of sulfuric and nitric acid during long-range transport through the atmosphere. Comparisons have been made with observations of sulfate and nitrate in precipitation at various distances from the source areas in northern Europe. Both observations and model calculations indicate that HNO3 is formed at a faster rate than H2SO4 and that the long-range transport of HNO3 is thus somewhat less pronounced than that of H2SO4. Mainly because of the common dependence of the oxidation of SO2 and NOx on the concentration of the OH radical, the concentration of NOx has a significant influence on the rate of formation of H2SO4: A higher emission of NOx tends to reduce the levels of OH and H2O2 close to the source area thereby delaying and decreasing the transformation of SO2 to H2SO4. Because of the interactions of the chemical species, the dependence of the concentrations on emission rates is not linear. Our model suggests that the concentrations of H2SO4 at travel distances up to a few tens of hours should have increased significantly less over the last 20 years than the rates of emission of SO2. This also seems to be brought out by observations of sulfate in precipitation.DOI: 10.1111/j.2153-3490.1981.tb01739.x
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