Impact of aircraft emissions on reactive nitrogen over the North Atlantic Flight Corridor region

M. Koike, Y. Kondo, H. Ikeda, G. L. Gregory, B. E. Anderson, G. W. Sachse, D. R. Blake, S. C. Liu, H. B. Singh, A. M. Thompson, K. Kita, Y. Zhao, T. Sugita, R. E. Shetter, N. Toriyama

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The impact of aircraft emissions on reactive nitrogen in the upper troposphere (UT) and lowermost stratosphere (LS) was estimated using the NOy-O3 correlation obtained during the Subsonic Assessment (SASS) Ozone and Nitrogen Oxide Experiment (SONEX) carried out over the U.S. continent and North Atlantic Flight Corridor (NAFC) region in October and November 1997. To evaluate the large-scale impact, we made a reference NOy-O3 relationship in air masses, upon which aircraft emissions were considered to have little impact. For this purpose, the integrated input of NOx from aircraft into an air mass along a 10-day back trajectory (ΔNOy) was calculated based on the Abatement of Nuisance Caused by Air Traffic/European Commission (ANCAT/EC2) emission inventory. The excess NOy (dNOy) was calculated from the observed NOy and the reference NOy-O3 relationship. As a result, a weak positive correlation was found between the dNOy and ΔNOy, and dNOy and NOx/NOy values, while no positive correlation between the dNOy and CO values was found, suggesting that dNOy values can be used as a measure of the NOx input from aircraft emissions. The excess NOy values calculated from another NOy-O3 reference relationship made using in situ condensation nuclei data also agreed with these dNOy values, within the uncertainties. At the NAFC region (45° N-60° N) the median value of dNOy in the troposphere increased with altitude above 9 km and reached 70 parts per trillion by volume (pptv) (20% of NOy) at 11 km. The excess NOx was estimated to be about half of the dNOy values, corresponding to 30% of the observed NOx level. Higher dNOy values were generally found in air masses where O3 = 75-125 ppbv, suggesting a more pronounced effect around the tropopause. The median value of dNOy in the stratosphere at the NAFC region at 8.5-11.5 km was about 120 pptv. The higher dNOy values in the LS were probably due to the accumulated effect of aircraft emissions, given the long residence time of affected air in the LS. Similar dNOy values were also obtained in air masses sampled over the U.S. continent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1999JD901013
Pages (from-to)3665-3677
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue numberD3
StatePublished - Feb 16 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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