Large nitric acid particles at the top of an Arctic stratospheric cloud

Terry Deshler, Niels Larsen, Christoph Weissner, Jochen Schreiner, Konrad Mauersberger, Francesco Cairo, Alberto Adriani, Guido Di Donfrancesco, Joelle Ovarlez, Henri Ovarlez, Ulrich Blum, K.H. Fricke, Andreas Dörnbrack

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In early December 2001, balloon-borne in situ measurements of particle composition, size, number, phase, and backscatter were completed in an Arctic stratospheric cloud composed of three distinct layers between 22 and 26 km. Below 24.5 km, liquid solution droplets of water, nitric acid, and sulfuric acid and a thin ice layer were observed. Above this layer the particles were primarily solid nitric acid trihydrate. Just above 26 km, at cloud top, where temperatures were near or above the equilibrium temperature for nitric acid trihydrate, there was a thin layer of solid particles narrowly distributed around a radius of 2.0 μm at concentrations of <0.001 cm-3. Lidar backscatter and particle phase measurements approximately 200 km upwind of the in situ measurements indicate a similar vertical structure for the cloud. These in situ measurements represent, to our knowledge, the most comprehensive in situ observations of all phases of polar stratospheric cloud particles, while the large particles at cloud top have not been previously observed and may have implications for producing particles large enough to remove reactive nitrogen from the polar stratosphere. Copyright 2003 by the American Geophysical Union.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)-
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2003
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

Cite this

Deshler, T., Larsen, N., Weissner, C., Schreiner, J., Mauersberger, K., Cairo, F., Adriani, A., Di Donfrancesco, G., Ovarlez, J., Ovarlez, H., Blum, U., Fricke, K. H., & Dörnbrack, A. (2003). Large nitric acid particles at the top of an Arctic stratospheric cloud. Journal of Geophysical Research, 108(16), -.