A molecular perspective for global modeling of upper atmospheric NH 3 from freezing clouds

Cui Ge, Chongqin Zhu, Joseph S. Francisco, Xiao Cheng Zeng, Jun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ammonia plays a key role in the neutralization of atmospheric acids such as sulfate and nitrates. A few in situ observations have supported the theory that gas-phase NH 3 concentrations should decrease sharply with altitude and be extremely low in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS). This theory, however, seems inconsistent with recent satellite measurements and is also not supported by the aircraft data showing highly or fully neutralized sulfate aerosol particles by ammonium in the UTLS in many parts of the world. Here we reveal the contributions of deep convective clouds to NH 3 in the UTLS by using integrated cross-scale modeling, which includes molecular dynamic simulations, a global chemistry transport model, and satellite and aircraft measurements. We show that the NH 3 dissolved in liquid cloud droplets is prone to being released into the UTLS upon freezing during deep convection. Because NH 3 emission is not regulated in most countries and its future increase is likely persistent from agricultural growth and the warmer climate, the effect of NH 3 on composition and phase of aerosol particles in the UTLS can be significant, which in turn can affect cirrus cloud formation, radiation, and the budgets of NOx and O 3 .

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6147-6152
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume115
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 12 2018

Fingerprint

Aircraft
Aerosols
Freezing
Sulfates
Convection
Budgets
Molecular Dynamics Simulation
Climate
Ammonium Compounds
Ammonia
Nitrates
Gases
Radiation
Acids
Growth

Keywords

  • Ammonia
  • Deep convection
  • Freezing clouds
  • Global model
  • Molecular dynamics simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

A molecular perspective for global modeling of upper atmospheric NH 3 from freezing clouds . / Ge, Cui; Zhu, Chongqin; Francisco, Joseph S.; Zeng, Xiao Cheng; Wang, Jun.

In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 115, No. 24, 12.06.2018, p. 6147-6152.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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