Stratospheric hydrogen peroxide: the relationship of theory and observation.

P. S. Connell, D. J. Wuebbles, J. S. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current theory of stratospheric photochemistry indicates that the photochemical lifetime of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is short enough in the middle stratosphere (1 day) that the H2O2 abundance can be considered to be photochemically controlled. However, H2O2 should still be expected to show significant temporal and spatial variability through its sensitivity to transport-related fluctuations in O3, NOy(=NO + NO2 + HNO3 + HNO4), and H2O. From the available observational data on short-term variability in these longer-lived species, H2O2 concentrations should vary temporally 4 or 5-fold at altitudes between 15 and 35km. This concentration range about the model profile includes 2 recently reported upper limits for mid-stratospheric H2O2. The earlier tentative identification of stratospheric H2O2 by Waters et al. (1981) is somewhat larger than the expected upper limit of variation based on a 1D transport-kinetics model. Several implications for stratospheric observation of H2O2 arise from its expected variability. Model-predicted H2O2 abundances are very sensitive to important kinetic parameters, but small sets of H2O2 measurements alone will not be useful to test model behavior. In concert with simultaneous measurements of O3, H2O, and HOy, H2O2 abundances could be used to closely verify model treatment of HOx(=HO + HO2) photochemistry.-from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10726-10732
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberD6
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • 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


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