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  1. Lightning increases the atmosphere’s ability to cleanse itself by producing nitric oxide (NO), leading to atmospheric chemistry that forms ozone (O3) and the atmosphere’s primary oxidant, the hydroxyl radical (OH). Our analysis of a 2012 airborne study of deep convection and chemistry demonstrates that lightning also directly generates the oxidants OH and the hydroperoxyl radical (HO2). Extreme amounts of OH and HO2were discovered and linked to visible flashes occurring in front of the aircraft and to subvisible discharges in electrified anvil regions. This enhanced OH and HO2is orders of magnitude greater than any previous atmospheric observation. Lightning-generated OH in all storms happening at the same time globally can be responsible for a highly uncertain, but substantial, 2 to 16% of global atmospheric OH oxidation.

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  2. Abstract

    The convectively driven transport of soluble trace gases from the lower to the upper troposphere can occur on timescales of less than an hour, and recent studies suggest that microphysical scavenging is the dominant removal process of tropospheric ozone precursors. We examine the processes responsible for vertical transport, entrainment, and scavenging of soluble ozone precursors (formaldehyde and peroxides) for midlatitude convective storms sampled on 2 September 2013 during the Studies of Emissions, Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys (SEAC4RS) study. Cloud‐resolving simulations using the Weather Research and Forecasting with Chemistry model combined with aircraft measurements were performed to understand the effect of entrainment, scavenging efficiency (SE), and ice physics processes on these trace gases. Analysis of the observations revealed that the SEs of formaldehyde (43–53%) and hydrogen peroxide (~80–90%) were consistent between SEAC4RS storms and the severe convection observed during the Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry Experiment (DC3) campaign. However, methyl hydrogen peroxide SE was generally smaller in the SEAC4RS storms (4%–27%) compared to DC3 convection. Predicted ice retention factors exhibit different values for some species compared to DC3, and we attribute these differences to variations in net precipitation production. The analyses show that much larger production of precipitation between condensation and freezing levels for DC3 severe convection compared to smaller SEAC4RS storms is largely responsible for the lower amount of soluble gases transported to colder temperatures, reducing the amount of soluble gases which eventually interact with cloud ice particles.

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