N-nitrosodimethylamine occurrence, formation and cycling in clouds and fogs

James W. Hutchings, Barbara Ervens, Derek Straub, Pierre Herckes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The occurrence, source, and sink processes of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) have been explored by means of combined laboratory, field, and model studies. Observations have shown the occurrence of NDMA in fogs and clouds at substantial concentrations (7.5-397 ng L-1). Laboratory studies were conducted to investigate the formation of NDMA from nitrous acid and dimethylamine in the homogeneous aqueous phase. While NDMA was produced in the aqueous phase, the low yields (<1%) observed could not explain observational concentrations. Therefore gaseous formation of NDMA with partitioning to droplets likely dominates aqueous NDMA formation. Box-model calculations confirmed the predominant contributions from gas phase formation followed by partitioning into the cloud droplets. Measurements and model calculations showed that while NDMA is eventually photolyzed, it might persist in the atmosphere for hours after sunrise and before sunset since the photolysis in the aqueous phase might be much less efficient than in the gas phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8128-8133
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Sep 24 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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