P. E. Sheese, et al.
Nitrous oxide in the atmosphere: First measurements of a lower thermospheric source
Geophysical Research Letters (2015GL067353), 43(6), 2866-2872, 2016; doi: 10.1002/2015GL067353
N2O 15NNO N15NO N217O N218O Middle atmosphere Thermosphere Constituent sources sinks ACE-FTS nitrous oxide lower thermosphere atmospheric N2O production NOx descent


Nitrous oxide (N2O) is an important anthropogenic greenhouse gas, as well as one of the most significant anthropogenic ozone-depleting substances in the stratosphere. The satellite-based instrument Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment-Fourier Transform Spectrometer has been observing the Earth's limb since 2004 and derives profiles of N2O volume mixing ratios in the upper troposphere to the lower thermosphere. The resulting climatology shows that N2O is continuously produced in the lower thermosphere via energetic particle precipitation and enhanced N2O is present at all latitudes, during all seasons. The results are consistent with an N2O production source peaking near or above 94 km via low-energy particles, as well as a polar wintertime source near 70 km via medium energy particles. N2O produced in the polar upper atmosphere descends each winter to as far down as ~40 km.


  author = "P. E. Sheese and K. A. Walker and C. D. Boone and P. F. Bernath and B. Funke",
  title = "Nitrous oxide in the atmosphere: First measurements of a lower thermospheric source",
  year = 2016,
  journal = "Geophysical Research Letters",
  volume = 43,
  number = 6,
  pages = "2866-2872",
  month = "Mar",
  keywords = "N2O, 15NNO, N15NO, N217O, N218O, Middle atmosphere, Thermosphere, Constituent sources, sinks, ACE-FTS, nitrous oxide, lower thermosphere, atmospheric N2O production, NOx descent",
  doi = "10.1002/2015GL067353",
  url = "",
  note = "2015GL067353"
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