Oxidizing capacity of atmosphere

From Glossary of Meteorology

oxidizing capacity of atmosphere

The ability of the atmosphere to cleanse itself of terrestrial, often organic, emissions.

The degradation of most organic compounds is an oxidation process initiated by attack by a hydroxyl radical. Thus, the ability of the atmosphere to sustain a concentration of OH sufficient to remove current levels of hydrocarbons, etc., is usually referred to as its oxidizing capacity. The expression is qualitative, and no quantitative measure of oxidizing capacity has been adopted to date.