ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY - RESPONSE TO HUMAN INFLUENCE
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ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY - RESPONSE TO HUMAN INFLUENCE

  • Author(s): LOGAN, JA
  • PRATHER, MJ
  • WOFSY, SC
  • MCELROY, MB
  • et al.
Abstract

Present understanding of global atmospheric chemistry is reviewed. Models are presented and compared with a wide range of atmospheric observations, with emphasis on the stratosphere. In general, excellent agreement is found between the calculated and observed distributions of long lived trace gases. The abundances of many shorter lived species are also satisfactorily reproduced, including NO 2 , HNO 3 , O, O 3 , OH and ClO. Discrepancies between theory and observation are examined and their significance assessed. The influence of human perturbations due to combustion, agriculture and chlorocarbon releases is discussed with emphasis on O 3 . Uncertainties associated with present models are highlighted. Combustion related releases of CO cause a decrease in the abundance of tropospheric OH with consequent increase in the concentrations of CH 4 , H 2 , CH 3 Cl and other halocarbons. CO emissions may become sufficiently large during the next century to induce substantial increases in tropospheric ozone on a global scale. Recombination of nitrogen fixed by agriculture and combustion may lead to an enhanced source of atmospheric N 2 O with a related impact on stratospheric NO x . Chlorocarbon industry provides an important source of stratospheric chlorine, and enhanced levels of stratospheric Cl x and NO x may cause a significant reduction in the abundance of atmospheric O 3 , by as much as 10% during the next century. Perturbations due to various anthropogenic activities interact in a nonlinear fashion and the influence on atmospheric chemistry is correspondingly complex.

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