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Functionalization and fragmentation during ambient organic aerosol aging: Application of the 2-D volatility basis set to field studies

by B. N. Murphy, N. M. Donahue, C. Fountoukis, M. Dall'Osto, C. O'Dowd, A. Kiendler-Scharr, S. N. Pandis
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics ()

Abstract

Multigenerational oxidation chemistry of atmospheric organic compounds and its effects on aerosol loadings and chemical composition is investigated by implementing the Two-Dimensional Volatility Basis Set (2-D-VBS) in a Lagrangian host chemical transport model. Three model formulations were chosen to explore the complex interactions between functionalization and fragmentation processes during gas-phase oxidation of organic compounds by the hydroxyl radical. The base case model employs a conservative transformation by assuming a reduction of one order of magnitude in effective saturation concentration and an increase of oxygen content by one or two oxygen atoms per oxidation generation. A second scheme simulates functionalization in more detail using group contribution theory to estimate the effects of oxygen addition to the carbon backbone on the compound volatility. Finally, a fragmentation scheme is added to the detailed functionalization scheme to create a functionalization-fragmentation parameterization. Two condensed-phase chemistry pathways are also implemented as additional sensitivity tests to simulate (1) heterogeneous oxidation via OH uptake to the particle-phase and (2) aqueous-phase chemistry of glyoxal and methylglyoxal. The model is applied to summer and winter periods at three sites where observations of organic aerosol (OA) mass and O:C were obtained during the European Integrated Project on Aerosol Cloud Climate and Air Quality Interactions (EUCAARI) campaigns. The base case model reproduces observed mass concentrations and O:C well, with fractional errors (FE) lower than 55% and 25 %, respectively. The detailed functionalization scheme tends to overpredict OA concentrations, especially in the summertime, and also underpredicts O:C by approximately a factor of 2. The detailed functionalization model with fragmentation agrees well with the observations for OA concentration, but still underpredicts O:C. Both heterogeneous oxidation and aqueous-phase processing have small effects on OA levels but heterogeneous oxidation, as implemented here, does enhance O:C by about 0.1. The different schemes result in very different fractional attribution for OA between anthropogenic and biogenic sources.

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