Mauersberger, K., J. Morton, B. Schueler, J. Stehr, and S. Anderson, Multi-Isotope Study of Ozone: Implications for the Heavy Ozone Anomaly Geophysical Research Letters 20 pp. 1031-1034, 1993

Laboratory experiments have been performed with O and O2 in their ground electronic states to study the distribution of all possible ozone isotopes formed. Results show that with respect to O3 (16-16-16), the two symmetric molecules 17-17-17 and 18-18-18 are depleted, in good agreement with standard recombination theory. A large enrichment of about 18% is found in the asymmetric molecule 16-17-18, while all others carry about 2/3 of that. A comparison with past laboratory and stratospheric ozone isotope measurements leads to the following conclusion: there is a standard enrichment which resides in asymmetric molecules only. It will lead to an enrichment of stratospheric O3-49 and O3-50 of 8 to 9%; this has been actually observed in recent balloon experiments. Occasionally, the enrichments in the stratosphere are larger, reaching 40% at certain altitudes. Only when ozone was formed in an electric discharge process have larger enrichments been measured in laboratory experiments, affecting both symmetric and asymmetric molecules. The results provide an important connection between numerous laboratory studies and stratospheric measurements.

Notation comment: 16-16-16 refers to a combination of three oxygen atoms of mass 16. O3-49 refers to a molecule composed of two oxygen atoms of mass 16 and one of mass 17, for a total mass of 49.

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