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Stratospheric chemical lifetime of aviation fuel incomplete combustion products

Bains, William, Viita, Eleanor, Petkowski, Janusz J. and Seager, Sara 2022. Stratospheric chemical lifetime of aviation fuel incomplete combustion products. Atmosphere 13 (8) , e1209. 10.3390/atmos13081209

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The stratosphere contains haze rich in sulfuric acid, which plays a significant role in stratospheric chemistry and in global climate. Commercial aircraft deposit significant amounts of incomplete combustion products into the lower stratosphere. We have studied the stability of these incomplete combustion products to reaction with sulfuric acid, using a predictive model based on experimental reaction kinetics. We demonstrate that sulfuric acid chemistry is likely to be a significant component of the chemistry of organics in the stratosphere. We find that at least 25 of the 40 known incomplete combustion products from aviation fuel have lifetimes to reaction with aerosol sulfuric acid of at least months. We estimate that ~109 kg of long-lived products could be deposited per year in the lower stratosphere. We suggest that the high molecular weight organic compounds formed as incomplete combustion products of commercial long-haul aviation could play a significant role in the stratosphere.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:
Publisher: MDPI
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 August 2022
Date of Acceptance: 26 July 2022
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2022 17:00

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