First detection of ammonia (NH3) in the Asian summer monsoon upper troposphere

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Ammonia (NH3) has been detected in the upper troposphere by the analysis of averaged MIPAS (Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding) infrared limb-emission spectra. We have found enhanced amounts of NH3 within the region of the Asian summer monsoon at 12-15 km altitude. Three-monthly, 10° longitude × 10° latitude average profiles reaching maximum mixing ratios of around 30 pptv in this altitude range have been retrieved, with a vertical resolution of 3-8 km and estimated errors of about 5 pptv. These observations show that loss processes during transport from the boundary layer to the upper troposphere within the Asian monsoon do not deplete the air entirely of NH3. Thus, ammonia might contribute to the so-called Asian tropopause aerosol layer by the formation of ammonium aerosol particles. On a global scale, outside the monsoon area and during different seasons, we could not detect enhanced values of NH3 above the actual detection limit of about 3-5 pptv. This upper bound helps to constrain global model simulations.




Höpfner, M., Volkamer, R., Grabowski, U., Grutter, M., Orphal, J., Stiller, G., … Wetzel, G. (2016). First detection of ammonia (NH3) in the Asian summer monsoon upper troposphere. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 16(22), 14357–14369.

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