Air pollution has been a major environmental concern for many decades, but some of the chemical processes that form pollutants in the atmosphere remain unclear. Nighttime chemistry, in particular, is less well understood than daytime chemistry, although it can have significant impacts on the level of key pollutants, such as ozone (O3) and nitrogen oxides (NO, NO2) . A potentially important chemistry involves the nocturnal formation, followed by photolysis at sunrise of nitryl chloride (ClNO2), which releases chlorine atoms (Cl) from aerosol, such as sea-salt, into the gas-phase (Fig. 1). Since Cl is very reactive towards methane, a key climate forcer, as well as several volatile organic compounds, this process can be very important for both climate change and air quality, especially in highly populated coastal regions and megacities.
Measurements of ClNO2 in North America, Europe and Asia made in recent years have shown that this molecule is present in the atmosphere at a much larger extent than previously thought, even in regions that are not close to the coast where sea-salt can serve as a source for chloride. Field campaigns and modelling studies have indicated that this chemistry has large impact on ozone formation, especially during the morning hours. However, there are still significant uncertainties in our understanding of ClNO2 chemistry, and its implications for air pollution and climate.
 Ball, S. M. (2014), “Atmospheric chemistry at night”, http://www.rsc.org/images/environmental-brief-no-3-2014_tcm18-237724.pdf
(Accessed 29 Oct 2018).
 Thornton, J. A. et al (2010), “A large atomic chlorine source inferred from mid-continental reactive nitrogen chemistry”, Nature, 464, p271, doi: 10.1038/nature08905.
 Sommariva, R. et al (2018), “Seasonal and geographical variability of nitryl chloride and its precursors in Northern Europe”, Atmospheric Science Letters, 19(8), e844, doi: 10.1002/asl.844.
 MISTRA model, https://github.com/MistraModel
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