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Hydrogen Cyanide

Other Names

HCN, Acetonitrile


Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN) is a colorless, volatile, and extremely poisonous chemical compound whose vapors have a bitter almond odor.
HCN main source in the troposphere is the biomass burning. It is a tropospheric source gas that enters in the stratosphere and is slowly destroyed there. HCN is not only an indicator of biomass burning events, it also acts as a tracer to observe the dynamics of the middle atmosphere. Its primary loss mechanism is reaction with the OH radical. The HCN data from Microwave Limb Sounding (Aura/MLS) are based on observations of emission from spectral lines around 117 GHz.


(1) Atmospheric Chemistry Models (5) Tracer of Air Motions
(2) Air Quality (6) stratosphere-troposphere exchange
(3) Monitoring of Biomass Burning (7) Climate Change
(4) Health and Environment  

GES DISC Datasets

Quick Search for 'Hydrogen Cyanide' with Mirador
Click on the corresponding 'Data access' links in the table below to access products containing specific parameter.

Parameter Units Platform /Instrument Data Products
Begin Date End Date Data Access Doc
Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN) Profiles (mixing ratios at different pressure levels), pixel resolution vmr Aura/MLS 2004-08-08 Current ML2HCN Y
Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN) Profiles (mixing ratios at different pressure levels), global gridded vmr Aura/MLS 2004-08-08 Current   Y
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Last updated: Dec 02, 2011 02:21 PM ET