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Distribution of hydrogen peroxide and methylhydroperoxide over the Pacific and South Atlantic Oceans

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The gas phase hydrogen peroxide and methylhydroperoxide concentrations were measured in the troposphere over the tropical Pacific Ocean as a component of NASA's Global Tropospheric Experiment/Pacific Exploratory Mission-Tropics A field campaign. Flights on two aircraft covered the Pacific from 70°S to 60°N and 110°E to 80°W and South Atlantic from 40°S to 15°N and 45°W to 70°E, and extending from 76 to 13,000 m altitude. H2O2 and CH3OOH have the highest concentrations at a given altitude at the equator and decrease with increasing latitude in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Above 4 km the gradient is substantially reduced for both H2O2 and CH3OOH with latitude, and at altitudes in excess of 8 km there is no latitudinal dependence. H2O2 and CH3OOH exhibit maximum mixing ratios between 1 and 2 km at all latitudes. The mean mixing ratio of H2O2 at the equator was 1600 ± 600 parts per trillion by volume (pptv) decreasing to 500 ± 250 pptv at latitudes greater than 55° north and south between 1 and 2 km altitude. CH3OOH at the equator was 1400 ± 250 pptv, decreasing to 330 ± 200 pptv at high latitudes at altitudes between 1 and 2 km. The concentration of peroxides at high latitudes in the northern hemisphere was generally a factor of 2 higher than at corresponding latitudes in the southern hemisphere. The ratio of H2O2 to CH3OOH was between 1 and 2 from 45°S to 35°N at altitudes below 4 km. Between 5° to 15°N the ratio is less than 1, due to preferential removal of H2O2 in the Intertropical Convergence Zone. Copyright 1999 by the American Geophysical Union.

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