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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2015, Article ID 294069, 9 pages
Research Article

Estimation of Daytime NO3 Radical Levels in the UK Urban Atmosphere Using the Steady State Approximation Method

1Biogeochemistry Research Centre, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Cantock’s Close, Bristol BS8 1TS, UK
2The Centre for Atmospheric Science, The School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Science, The University of Manchester, Simon Building, Brunswick Street, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

Received 3 May 2015; Accepted 28 June 2015

Academic Editor: Pedro Jiménez-Guerrero

Copyright © 2015 M. A. H. Khan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The steady state approximation has been applied to the UK National Environment Technology Centre (NETCEN) data at three urban sites in the UK (Marylebone Road London, London Eltham, and Harwell) over the period of 1997 to 2012 to estimate the concentrations of daytime NO3. Despite the common assertion that NO3 levels are negligible in the day as a consequence of photolysis, there are occasions where NO3 reaches a few pptv. A seasonal pattern in NO3 concentration was observed with higher levels in the spring with consistent peaks in April and May. A combination of temperature effects (the formation of NO3 from the reaction of NO2 with O3 has a high activation energy barrier), a distinct pattern in O3 concentration (peaking in spring), and loss via reaction with NO peaking in winter is responsible for this trend. Although reaction with OH is still the dominant loss process for VOCs during the day, there are VOCs (unsaturated) that will have an appreciable loss due to reaction with NO3 in the daytime. Since the addition reaction of NO3 with alkenes can lead directly to organic nitrate formation, there are implications for O3 formation and secondary organic aerosol formation during daytime and these are discussed.