Global lightning nitrogen oxides production

Global lightning nitrogen oxides production

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The intense heating of air molecules by a lightning discharge and subsequent rapid cooling of the hot lightning channel results in the production of nitrogen oxides (Chameides, 1986). The lightning nitrogen oxides, or “LNOx”for brevity (where NOx = NO + NO2), indirectly influences our climate since these molecules are important in controlling the concentration of ozone (O3) and hydroxyl radicals (OH) in the atmosphere (Huntrieser et al., 1998; see also Crutzen 1970, 1973, 1979; Chameides and Walker, 1973; Hidalgo and Crutzen, 1977). Analyses of Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) data show that tropical upper tropospheric ozone has the largest radiative impact (Aghedo et al., 2011). In addition, the distribution of ozone forcing can have a substantial influence on regional rainfall patterns, even more so than its global mean annual average forcing would suggest (Shindell etal., 2012). Since LNOx controls ozone and is the most important source of NOx in the upper troposphere (particularly in the tropics), lightning is important to climate (see the review by Schumann and Huntrieser, 2007). Furthermore, a substantial amount of LNOx is transported to higher latitudes via the stratosphere, extending its influence even farther (Grewe et al., 2002, 2004).

Chapter Contents:

  • 19.1 The importance of lightning nitrogen oxides
  • 19.2 Estimating global annual LNOx production
  • 19.2.1 Flash extrapolation method
  • 19.2.2 Thunderstorm extrapolation method
  • 19.2.3 Global model fit method
  • 19.3 Observations and inferences of LNOx
  • 19.3.1 Early examinations of thunderstorm rainwater
  • 19.3.2 Clarifying observations
  • 19.3.3 Some field campaigns
  • 19.4 The Lightning Nitrogen Oxides Model (LNOM)
  • 19.4.1 Motivations
  • 19.4.2 Functionality
  • 19.4.3 Data products
  • 19.4.4 Data archive
  • 19.4.5 Future evolution
  • 19.5 Benefits of satellite observations
  • 19.5.1 Two early studies employing photometers
  • 19.5.2 Space-based lightning mappers
  • 19.5.3 Top-down constraints on LNOx
  • 19.5.4 Discriminating flash type from space
  • References

Inspec keywords: lightning; ozone; nitrogen compounds; clouds; troposphere; stratosphere; atmospheric chemistry

Other keywords: global lightning nitrogen oxides production; tropical upper tropospheric ozone; hot lightning channel; ozone forcing distribution; ozone concentration control; radiative impact; climate; O3; nitrogen oxide production; cloud flashes; stratosphere; TES data; rapid cooling; hydroxyl radical concentration control; NOx; lightning discharge; intense air molecule heating; atmosphere; Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer; regional rainfall pattern

Subjects: Cloud physics; Atmospheric electricity; Chemical composition and chemical interactions in the lower atmosphere

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