The oxidative capacity of the troposphere: Coupling of field measurements of OH and a global chemistry transport model
A combination of in situ, ground-based observations of marine boundary layer OH concentrations performed by laser-induced fluorescence at Mace Head, Ireland and Cape Grim, Tasmania, and a global chemistry-transport model (GEOS-CHEM) are used to obtain an estimate of the mean concentration of OH in the global troposphere. The model OH field is constrained to the geographically sparse, observed OH concentration averaged over the duration of the measurement campaigns to remove diurnal and synoptic variability. The mean northern and southern hemispheric OH concentrations obtained are 0.91 × 106 cm−3 and 1.03 × 106 cm−3 respectively, consistent with values determined from methyl chloroform observations. The observational OH dataset is heavily biased towards mid-latitude summer and autumn observations in the northern hemisphere, while the global oxidising capacity is dominated by the tropics which is observed extremely sparsely; the implications of these geographical distributions are discussed.