Measurements of Atmosphere–Biosphere Exchange of Oxidized Nitrogen and Implications for the Chemistry of Atmospheric NOx
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Measurements of Atmosphere–Biosphere Exchange of Oxidized Nitrogen and Implications for the Chemistry of Atmospheric NOx

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  • Journal Title:
    Accounts of Chemical Research
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    The atmosphere–biosphere exchange of nitrogen oxides plays a key role in determining the composition of reactive nitrogen in terrestrial vegetated environments. The emission of nitric oxide (NO) from soils is an important atmospheric source of reactive nitrogen. NO is rapidly interconverted with NO2, making up the chemical family NOx (NOx ≡ NO2 + NO). NOx further reacts with the oxidation products of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to form the functionalized nitrogen oxide groups acyl peroxynitrates (APNs = R(O)O2NO2) and alkyl nitrates (ANs = RONO2). Both canopy-level field measurements and laboratory studies suggest that the absorption of nitrogen dioxide NO2 and APNs by vegetation is a significant sink of atmospheric NOx, removing a large fraction of global soil-emitted NOx and providing key control on the amounts and lifetimes of NOx and reactive nitrogen in the atmosphere. Nitrogen oxides influence the production of surface O3 and secondary aerosols. The balance of the emission and uptake of nitrogen oxides thus provides a mechanism for the regulation of regional air quality. The biosphere, via this biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen oxides, is becoming an increasingly important determining factor for airborne pollutants as much of the world continues to reduce the amount of combustion-related nitrogen oxide emissions. Understanding the function of the biosphere as a source and sink of reactive nitrogen is therefore ever more critical in evaluating the effects of future and current emissions of nitrogen oxides on human and ecosystem health.
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    Accounts of Chemical Research, 56(13), 1720-1730
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