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Annu Rev Phys Chem. 2008;59:27-51. doi: 10.1146/annurev.physchem.59.032607.093630.

Chemistry and photochemistry of mineral dust aerosol.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


It has become increasingly clear that heterogeneous and multiphase chemistry of tropospheric aerosols can change the chemical balance of the atmosphere. In this review, we focus on recent laboratory studies of the heterogeneous and multiphase chemistry and photochemistry of mineral dust aerosol, a large mass fraction of the tropospheric aerosol. Mineral dust aerosol contains a mixture of oxides, clays, and carbonates. Molecular-based studies of reactions of these dust components provide insights into the chemistry of Earth's atmosphere. We discuss several different types of heterogeneous and multiphase reactions, including (a) ozone decomposition, (b) nitrogen dioxide and nitrate photochemistry, and (c) the dissolution and redox chemistry of Fe-containing dust. We also review some of the important chemical concepts that have recently emerged.


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