Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
26 Jan 2017
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Atmospheric Chemistry, Sources, and Sinks of Carbon Suboxide, C3O2
Stephan Keßel1, David Cabrera-Perez1, Abraham Horowitz1, Patrick R. Veres1,a, Rolf Sander1, Domenico Taraborrelli1,b, Maria Tucceri1, John Crowley1, Andrea Pozzer1, Luc Vereecken1,b, Jos Lelieveld1, and Jonathan Williams1 1Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Hahn-Meitner-Weg 1, Mainz, Germany
anow at: NOAA ESRL Chemical Sciences Division, Boulder, USA and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
bnow at: Institute of Energy and Climate Research, IEK-8: Troposphere, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany
Abstract. Carbon suboxide, O = C = C = C = O, has been detected in ambient air samples and has the potential to be a noxious pollutant and oxidant precursor; however, its lifetime and fate in the atmosphere is largely unknown. In this work, we collect an extensive set of studies on the atmospheric chemistry of C3O2. Rate coefficients for the reactions of C3O2 with OH radicals and ozone were determined using relative rate techniques as k4 = (2.6 ± 0.5) × 10−12 cm3 molecule−1 s1 at 295 K (independent of pressure between ~ 25 and 1000 mbar) and k6 < 1.5 × 10−213 molecule−1 s1 at 295 K. A theoretical study on the mechanisms of these reactions indicates that the sole products are CO and CO2, as observed experimentally. The UV absorption spectrum and the interaction of C3O2 with water were also investigated, enabling photodissociation and hydrolysis rates to be assessed. The role of C3O2 in the atmosphere was examined using in-situ measurements, an analysis of the atmospheric sources and sinks, and simulation with the EMAC atmospheric chemistry – general circulation model. The results indicate sub-pptv levels at the Earth's surface, up to about 10 pptv in regions with relatively strong sources, e.g. by biomass burning, and a mean lifetime of ~ 3.2 days. These predictions carry considerable uncertainty, as more measurement data are needed to determine ambient concentrations and constrain the source strengths.

Citation: Keßel, S., Cabrera-Perez, D., Horowitz, A., Veres, P. R., Sander, R., Taraborrelli, D., Tucceri, M., Crowley, J., Pozzer, A., Vereecken, L., Lelieveld, J., and Williams, J.: Atmospheric Chemistry, Sources, and Sinks of Carbon Suboxide, C3O2, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Stephan Keßel et al.
Stephan Keßel et al.


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Short summary
In this study we identify an often overlooked stable oxide of carbon, namely carbon suboxide (C3O2), in ambient air. We have made C3O2 and in the laboratory determined its absorption cross section data and the rate of reaction with two important atmospheric oxidants, OH and O3. By incorporating known sources and sinks in a global model we have generated a first global picture of the distribution of this species in the atmosphere.
In this study we identify an often overlooked stable oxide of carbon, namely carbon suboxide...