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Balloon-borne radiometer measurements of Northern Hemisphere mid-latitude stratospheric HNO3 profiles spanning 12 years

by M. Toohey, B. M. Quine, K. Strong, P. F. Bernath, C. D. Boone, A. I. Jonsson, C. T. McElroy, K. A. Walker, D. Wunch show all authors
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Abstract

Low-resolution atmospheric thermal emission spectra collected by balloon-borne radiometers over the time span of 1990-2002 are used to retrieve vertical profiles of HNO3, CFC-11 and CFC-12 volume mixing ratios between approximately 10 and 35 km altitude. All of the data analyzed have been collected from launches from a Northern Hemisphere mid-latitude site, during late summer, when stratospheric dynamic variability is at a minimum. The retrieval technique incorporates detailed forward modeling of the instrument and the radiative properties of the atmosphere, and obtains a best fit between modeled and measured spectra through a combination of onion-peeling and optimization steps. The retrieved HNO3 profiles are consistent over the 12-year period, and are consistent with recent measurements by the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment-Fourier transform spectrometer satellite instrument. We therefore find no evidence of long-term changes in the HNO3 summer mid-latitude profile, although the uncertainty of our measurements precludes a conclusive trend analysis.

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