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An overview of snow photochemistry: evidence, mechanisms and impacts

Grannas, A. M. and Jones, A. E. and Dibb, J. and Ammann, M. and Anastasio, C. and Beine, H. J. and Bergin, M. and Bottenheim, J. and Boxe, C. S. and Carver, G. and Chen, G. and Crawford, J. H. and Dominé, F. and Frey, M. M. and Guzmán, M. I. and Heard, D. E. and Helmig, D. and Hoffmann, M. R. and Honrath, R. E. and Huey, L. G. and Hutterli, M. and Jacobi, H. W. and Klán, P. and Lefer, B. and McConnell, J. and Plane, J. and Sander, R. and Savarino, J. and Shepson, P. B. and Simpson, W. R. and Sodeau, J. R. and von Glasow, R. and Weller, R. and Wolff, E. W. and Zhu, T. (2007) An overview of snow photochemistry: evidence, mechanisms and impacts. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 7 (16). pp. 4329-4373. ISSN 1680-7316.

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It has been shown that sunlit snow and ice plays an important role in processing atmospheric species. Photochemical production of a variety of chemicals has recently been reported to occur in snow/ice and the release of these photochemically generated species may significantly impact the chemistry of the overlying atmosphere. Nitrogen oxide and oxidant precursor fluxes have been measured in a number of snow covered environments, where in some cases the emissions significantly impact the overlying boundary layer. For example, photochemical ozone production (such as that occurring in polluted mid-latitudes) of 3–4 ppbv/day has been observed at South Pole, due to high OH and NO levels present in a relatively shallow boundary layer. Field and laboratory experiments have determined that the origin of the observed NOx flux is the photochemistry of nitrate within the snowpack, however some details of the mechanism have not yet been elucidated. A variety of low molecular weight organic compounds have been shown to be emitted from sunlit snowpacks, the source of which has been proposed to be either direct or indirect photo-oxidation of natural organic materials present in the snow. Although myriad studies have observed active processing of species within irradiated snowpacks, the fundamental chemistry occurring remains poorly understood. Here we consider the nature of snow at a fundamental, physical level; photochemical processes within snow and the caveats needed for comparison to atmospheric photochemistry; our current understanding of nitrogen, oxidant, halogen and organic photochemistry within snow; the current limitations faced by the field and implications for the future.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Dibb, J.0000-0003-3096-7709
Guzmán, M. I.0000-0002-6730-7766
Hoffmann, M. R.0000-0001-6495-1946
Huey, L. G.0000-0002-0518-7690
Additional Information:© Author(s) 2007. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Published by Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union. Received: 21 February 2007 – Published in Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.: 29 March 2007. Revised: 17 July 2007 – Accepted: 13 August 2007 – Published: 22 August 2007. This paper arose from a meeting held at LGGE, Grenoble, in May 2006. It was sponsored by the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry program (IGAC), the British Antarctic Survey, LGGE, Rgion Rhone-Alpes, Universit Jopseph Fourier and the city of Grenoble. This paper is a contribution to the IGAC task on Air-Ice Chemical Interactions (AICI). Each of the three first authors on this work contributed equally to this review article, and the subsequent alphabetic list of co-authors includes contributors of major material and review of the manuscript. We would like to thank IGAC, the British Antarctic Survey, the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs and the National Science Foundation Atmospheric Sciences Division (NSF-ATM #0547435)) for financial support of this effort. We would like to thank P. Ariya for making unpublished material available to us and D. Davis for helpful discussion. We thank an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments which improved the quality of the final manuscript. Edited by: W. T. Sturges.
Issue or Number:16
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ID Code:8969
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Deposited On:09 Oct 2007
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

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