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- Geophysical research letters
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Abstract. New particle formation (NPF) is a significant source of atmosphericparticles, affecting climate and air quality. Understanding the mechanismsinvolved in urban aerosols is important to develop effective mitigationstrategies. However, NPF rates reported in the polluted boundary layer spanmore than 4 orders of magnitude, and the reasons behind this variability are the subject of intense scientific debate. Multiple atmospheric vapours have beenpostulated to participate in NPF, including sulfuric acid, ammonia, aminesand organics, but their relative roles remain unclear. We investigated NPFin the CLOUD chamber using mixtures of anthropogenic vapours that simulatepolluted boundary layer conditions. We demonstrate that NPF in pollutedenvironments is largely driven by the formation of sulfuric acid–baseclusters, stabilized by the presence of amines, high ammonia concentrationsand lower temperatures. Aromatic oxidation products, despite their extremelylow volatility, play a minor role in NPF in the chosen urban environment butcan be important for particle growth and hence for the survival of newlyformed particles. Our measurements quantitatively account for NPF in highlydiverse urban environments and explain its large observed variability. Suchquantitative information obtained under controlled laboratory conditionswill help the interpretation of future ambient observations of NPF rates inpolluted atmospheres.
Transformation of low-volatility gaseous precursors to new particles affects aerosol number concentration, cloud formation and hence the climate. The clustering of acid and base molecules is a major mechanism driving fast nucleation and initial growth of new particles in the atmosphere. However, the acid–base cluster composition, measured using state-of-the-art mass spectrometers, cannot explain the measured high formation rate of new particles. Here we present strong evidence for the existence of base molecules such as amines in the smallest atmospheric sulfuric acid clusters prior to their detection by mass spectrometers. We demonstrate that forming (H2SO4)1(amine)1 is the rate-limiting step in atmospheric H2SO4-amine nucleation and the uptake of (H2SO4)1(amine)1 is a major pathway for the initial growth of H2SO4 clusters. The proposed mechanism is very consistent with measured new particle formation in urban Beijing, in which dimethylamine is the key base for H2SO4 nucleation while other bases such as ammonia may contribute to the growth of larger clusters. Our findings further underline the fact that strong amines, even at low concentrations and when undetected in the smallest clusters, can be crucial to particle formation in the planetary boundary layer.
H 2 SO 4 and particle production in a photolytic flow reactor: chemical modeling, cluster thermodynamics and contamination issuesAbstract. Size distributions of particles formed from sulfuric acid(H2SO4) and water vapor in a photolytic flow reactor (PhoFR) weremeasured with a nanoparticle mobility sizing system. Experiments with addedammonia and dimethylamine were also performed. H2SO4(g) wassynthesized from HONO, sulfur dioxide and water vapor, initiating OHoxidation by HONO photolysis. Experiments were performed at 296 K over arange of sulfuric acid production levels and for 16 % to 82 % relativehumidity. Measured distributions generally had a large-particle mode thatwas roughly lognormal; mean diameters ranged from 3 to 12 nm and widths(lnσ) were ∼0.3. Particle formation conditions werestable over many months. Addition of single-digit pmol mol−1 mixing ratios ofdimethylamine led to very large increases in particle number density.Particles produced with ammonia, even at 2000 pmol mol−1, showed that NH3is a much less effective nucleator than dimethylamine. A two-dimensionalsimulation of particle formation in PhoFR is also presented that starts withgas-phase photolytic production of H2SO4, followed by kineticformation of molecular clusters and their decomposition, which is determined by theirthermodynamics. Comparisons with model predictions of the experimentalresult's dependency on HONO and water vapor concentrations yieldphenomenological cluster thermodynamics and help delineate the effects ofpotential contaminants. The added-base simulations and experimental resultsprovide support for previously published dimethylamine–H2SO4cluster thermodynamics and provide a phenomenological set ofammonia–sulfuric acid thermodynamics.
Modeling Diurnal Variation of Biogenic SOA Formation via Multiphase Reaction of Biogenic HydrocarbonsThe daytime oxidation of biogenic hydrocarbons is attributed to both OH radicals and O3, while nighttime chemistry is dominated by the reaction with O3 and NO3 radicals. Here, the diurnal pattern of Secondary Organic Aerosol (SOA) originating from biogenic hydrocarbons was intensively evaluated under varying environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, sunlight intensity, NOx levels, and seed conditions) by using the UNIfied Partitioning Aerosol phase Reaction (UNIPAR) model, which comprises multiphase gas-particle partitioning and in-particle chemistry. The oxidized products of three different hydrocarbons (isoprene, α-pinene, and β-caryophyllene) were predicted by using near explicit gas mechanisms for four different oxidation paths (OH, O3, NO3, and O(3P)) during day and night. The gas mechanisms implemented the Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM v3.3.1), the reactions that formed low volatility products via peroxy radical (RO2) autoxidation, and self- and cross-reactions of nitrate-origin RO2. In the model, oxygenated products were then classified into volatility-reactivity base lumping species, which were dynamically constructed under varying NOx levels and aging scales. To increase feasibility, the UNIPAR model that equipped mathematical equations for stoichiometric coefficients and physicochemical parameters of lumping species was integrated with the SAPRC gas mechanism. The predictability of the UNIPAR model was demonstrated by simulating chamber-generated SOA data undermore »
Abstract. Highly oxygenated organic molecules (HOMs) contributesubstantially to the formation and growth of atmospheric aerosol particles,which affect air quality, human health and Earth's climate. HOMs are formedby rapid, gas-phase autoxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) suchas α-pinene, the most abundant monoterpene in the atmosphere. Due totheir abundance and low volatility, HOMs can play an important role innew-particle formation (NPF) and the early growth of atmospheric aerosols,even without any further assistance of other low-volatility compounds suchas sulfuric acid. Both the autoxidation reaction forming HOMs and theirNPF rates are expected to be strongly dependent ontemperature. However, experimental data on both effects are limited.Dedicated experiments were performed at the CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoorDroplets) chamber at CERN to address this question. In this study, we showthat a decrease in temperature (from +25 to −50 ∘C) results ina reduced HOM yield and reduced oxidation state of the products, whereas theNPF rates (J1.7 nm) increase substantially.Measurements with two different chemical ionization mass spectrometers(using nitrate and protonated water as reagent ion, respectively) providethe molecular composition of the gaseous oxidation products, and atwo-dimensional volatility basis set (2D VBS) model provides their volatilitydistribution. The HOM yield decreases with temperature from 6.2 % at 25 ∘C to 0.7 % at −50 ∘C. However, there is a strongreductionmore »