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Published July 16, 2007 | Supplemental Material + Published
Journal Article Open

Sources of the oxygen isotopic anomaly in atmospheric N_2O


One-dimensional and two-dimensional models are used to investigate the isotopic composition of atmospheric N_2O. The sources of N_2O in the atmosphere are based on recent laboratory measurements of the N_2O quantum yield in the mixture of O_3/O_2/N_2 (Estupiñán et al., 2002). Two recently proposed pathways (Estupiñán et al., 2002; Prasad, 2005) are evaluated in the model. We find that the new atmospheric sources constitute a few percent of the total N_2O source, but can account for ∼50–100% of the Δ^(17)O anomaly observed in N_2O. The essence of the mechanism is to transfer a heavy oxygen atom originally in O_3 to N_2O. The magnitude of Δ^(17)O in N_2O is a linear function of the strength of these new N_2O sources. Laboratory and atmospheric measurements are proposed to confirm the chemical pathways. The potential of Δ^(17)O in N_2O for providing a new tool to probe ozone levels in paleoatmospheres is discussed.

Additional Information

© 2007 The American Geophysical Union. Received 2 August 2006; Revised 26 February 2007; Accepted 14 March 2007; Published 7 July 2007. This work was supported in part by NSF grant ATM-9903790 to California Institute of Technology and NSC grant 95-2111-M-001-009 to Academia Sinica. Special thanks is due X. Jiang for the derivation of the WACCM circulation used in two-dimensional modeling and W. DeMore, S. Prasad, and S. Sander on the discussion of the kinetics of N2O production in the atmosphere. We thank X. Jiang, V. Natraj, N. Heavens, C. Parkinson, and R.-L. Shia for their critical reading of the manuscript.

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Published - jgrd13442.pdf

Supplemental Material - jgrd13442-sup-0001-t01.txt


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August 22, 2023
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