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Regional and hemispheric influences on measured spring peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN) mixing ratios at the Auchencorth UK EMEP supersite

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  • Christopher S. Malley
  • J. Neil Cape
  • Matthew R. Jones
  • Sarah R. Leeson
  • Mhairi Coyle
  • Christine F. Braban
  • Mathew R. Heal
  • Marsailidh M. Twigg

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-141
Number of pages7
JournalAtmospheric research
Early online date20 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2016


This work presents 15-min averaged measurements of peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN) obtained during spring 2014 (24/04/2014 – 06/05/2014) at the Auchencorth UK EMEP supersite (south-east Scotland). The aim of this analysis was to investigate the conditions producing the distribution of PAN mixing ratios at the supersite in spring 2014. Air-mass back trajectories showed the majority of air masses to have spent substantial time over the UK, continental Europe or Scandinavia prior to arrival at Auchencorth. The median and 95th percentile PAN mixing ratios observed were 0.46 ppb and 1.03 ppb respectively. The median mixing ratio was elevated compared with previous PAN measurements during springtime (Apr-May) in south-east Scotland (corresponding median mixing ratios Apr-May 1994-1998: 0.1-0.3 ppb), which is hypothesised to be due to conditions conducive to regional (European) photochemical PAN production. Additionally, PAN mixing ratios during regionally-influenced conditions (0.4-1.5 ppb) were substantially more elevated from hemispheric background mixing ratios (0.4-0.6 ppb) than for ozone (O3, regional: 10-45 ppb, hemispheric: 30-40 ppb). PAN and O3 both impact upon vegetation and human health and it is necessary to understand the extent to which hemispheric and regional processes contribute to their abundances in different locations. Regional processes can both increase and decrease PAN and O3 mixing ratios compared to imported hemispheric background mixing ratios. This study concludes that during the measurement period in spring 2014 at the Auchencorth supersite, regional PAN and O3 modifying processes enhanced PAN mixing ratios more than for O3.

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