Enhanced Heterogeneous Nitrates Photolysis on Ice and Potential Impacts on NOx Emissions
Abstract:Nitrates photolysis plays a key role in the chemistry of the polar boundary layer and of the lower troposphere over snow-covered areas (1). Using a combination of vibrational (2) and photo-absorption spectroscopies (3), we show that nitric acid is mostly dissociated upon its adsorption onto, and its dissolution within ice at temperatures as low 20K. Using amorphous solid water as a model substrate for the disordered surface layer at the interstitial air-ice interface, UV irradiation in the environmentally relevant n-π* transition uncovers the fact that the photolysis rates are significantly higher for surface-bound nitrates compared to those dissolved within the bulk. The complex coupled interfacial transport and reaction kinetics result in the formation of a thin photochemically active layer at the surface of ice which may magnify the impact of surface-enhanced nitrates photolysis rates on ice thereby providing a significant contribution to the intense photochemical NOxfluxes observed to emanate from the sunlit snowpack upon polar sunrise.(4)
(1) F. Dominé, P.B. Shepson, Science, 297, 1506-1510 (2002).