Observation of road salt aerosol driving inland wintertime atmospheric chlorine chemistry

Inland sources of particulate chloride for atmospheric nitryl chloride (ClNO2) formation remain unknown and unquantified, hindering air quality assessments. Globally each winter, tens of millions of tons of road salt are spread on roadways for deicing. Here, we identify road salt aerosol as the primary chloride aerosol source, accounting for 80-100% of ClNO2, formation, at an inland urban area in the wintertime. This study provides experimental evidence of the connection between road salt and air quality through the production of this important reservoir for nitrogen oxides and chlorine radicals, which significantly impact atmospheric composition and pollutant fates. A numerical model was employed to quantify the contributions of chloride sources to ClNO2 production. The traditional method for simulating ClNO2 considers chloride to be homogeneously distributed across the atmospheric particle population; yet, we show that only a fraction of the particulate surface area contains chloride. Our new single-particle parametrization considers this heterogeneity, dramatically lowering overestimations of ClNO2 levels that have been routinely reported using the prevailing methods. The identification of road salt as a ClNO2 source links this common deicing practice to atmospheric composition and air quality in the urban wintertime environment.

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Related Dataset #1 : 10-min averages of ambient ClNO2, N2O5, HNO3, and O3 measured at 12 m above ground level in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, from February 1 to March 10, 2016

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Author McNamara, Stephen M.
Kolesar, Katheryn R.
Wang, Siyuan
Kirpes, Rachel M.
May, Nathaniel W.
Gunsch, Matthew J.
Cook, Ryan D.
Fuentes, Jose D.
Hornbrook, Rebecca S.
Apel, Eric C.
China, Swarup
Laskin, Alexander
Pratt, Kerri A.
Publisher UCAR/NCAR - Library
Publication Date 2020-05-27T00:00:00
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) Not Assigned
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Topic Category geoscientificInformation
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Metadata Date 2023-04-14T21:48:03.804626
Metadata Record Identifier edu.ucar.opensky::articles:23401
Metadata Language eng; USA
Suggested Citation McNamara, Stephen M., Kolesar, Katheryn R., Wang, Siyuan, Kirpes, Rachel M., May, Nathaniel W., Gunsch, Matthew J., Cook, Ryan D., Fuentes, Jose D., Hornbrook, Rebecca S., Apel, Eric C., China, Swarup, Laskin, Alexander, Pratt, Kerri A.. (2020). Observation of road salt aerosol driving inland wintertime atmospheric chlorine chemistry. UCAR/NCAR - Library. http://n2t.net/ark:/85065/d7vx0kr3. Accessed 08 June 2023.

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