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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 21, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 7, 2024
  3. Abstract. Accurate representation of aerosol optical properties is essential for the modeling and remote sensing of atmospheric aerosols. Although aerosol optical properties are strongly dependent upon the aerosol size distribution, the use of detailed aerosol microphysics schemes in global atmospheric models is inhibited by associated computational demands. Computationally efficient parameterizations for aerosol size are needed. Inthis study, airborne measurements over the United States (DISCOVER-AQ) andSouth Korea (KORUS-AQ) are interpreted with a global chemical transport model (GEOS-Chem) to investigate the variation in aerosol size when organicmatter (OM) and sulfate–nitrate–ammonium (SNA) are the dominant aerosol components. The airborne measurements exhibit a strong correlation (r=0.83) between dry aerosol size and the sum of OM and SNA mass concentration (MSNAOM). A global microphysical simulation(GEOS-Chem-TOMAS) indicates that MSNAOM and theratio between the two components (OM/SNA) are the major indicators for SNA and OM dry aerosol size. A parameterization of the dry effective radius (Reff) for SNA and OM aerosol is designed to represent the airborne measurements (R2=0.74; slope = 1.00) and the GEOS-Chem-TOMAS simulation (R2=0.72; slope = 0.81). When applied in the GEOS-Chem high-performance model, this parameterization improves the agreement between the simulated aerosol optical depth (AOD) and the ground-measured AOD from the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET; R2 from 0.68 to 0.73 and slope from 0.75 to 0.96). Thus, this parameterization offers a computationally efficient method to represent aerosol size dynamically.

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  4. Abstract. Extensive airborne measurements of non-methane organic gases (NMOGs), methane, nitrogen oxides, reduced nitrogen species, and aerosol emissions from US wild and prescribed fires were conducted during the 2019 NOAA/NASA Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality campaign (FIREX-AQ). Here, we report the atmospheric enhancement ratios (ERs) and inferred emission factors (EFs) for compounds measured on board the NASA DC-8 research aircraft for nine wildfires and one prescribed fire, which encompass a range of vegetation types. We use photochemical proxies to identify young smoke and reduce the effects of chemical degradation on our emissions calculations. ERs and EFs calculated from FIREX-AQ observations agree within a factor of 2, with values reported from previous laboratory and field studies for more than 80 % of the carbon- and nitrogen-containing species. Wildfire emissions are parameterized based on correlations of the sum of NMOGs with reactive nitrogen oxides (NOy) to modified combustion efficiency (MCE) as well as other chemical signatures indicative of flaming/smoldering combustion, including carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and black carbon aerosol. The sum of primary NMOG EFs correlates to MCE with an R2 of 0.68 and a slope of −296 ± 51 g kg−1, consistent with previous studies. The sum of the NMOG mixing ratios correlates well with CO with an R2 of 0.98 and a slope of 137 ± 4 ppbv of NMOGs per parts per million by volume (ppmv) of CO, demonstrating that primary NMOG emissions can be estimated from CO. Individual nitrogen-containing species correlate better with NO2, NOy, and black carbon than with CO. More than half of the NOy in fresh plumes is NO2 with an R2 of 0.95 and a ratio of NO2 to NOy of 0.55 ± 0.05 ppbv ppbv−1, highlighting that fast photochemistry had already occurred in the sampled fire plumes. The ratio of NOy to the sum of NMOGs follows trends observed in laboratory experiments and increases exponentially with MCE, due to increased emission of key nitrogen species and reduced emission of NMOGs at higher MCE during flaming combustion. These parameterizations will provide more accurate boundary conditions for modeling and satellite studies of fire plume chemistry and evolution to predict the downwind formation of secondary pollutants, including ozone and secondary organic aerosol.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  5. Abstract. Organic nitrate (RONO2) formation in the atmosphere represents a sink of NOx(NOx = NO + NO2) and termination of the NOx/HOx(HOx = HO2 + OH) ozone formation and radical propagation cycles, can act as a NOx reservoirtransporting reactive nitrogen, and contributes to secondary organic aerosol formation. While some fraction of RONO2 is thought to reside in the particle phase, particle-phase organic nitrates (pRONO2) are infrequently measured and thus poorly understood. There is anincreasing prevalence of aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) instruments, which have shown promise for determining the quantitative total organic nitratefunctional group contribution to aerosols. A simple approach that relies on the relative intensities of NO+ and NO2+ ions inthe AMS spectrum, the calibrated NOx+ ratio for NH4NO3, and the inferred ratio for pRONO2 hasbeen proposed as a way to apportion the total nitrate signal to NH4NO3 and pRONO2. This method is increasingly beingapplied to field and laboratory data. However, the methods applied have been largely inconsistent and poorly characterized, and, therefore, adetailed evaluation is timely. Here, we compile an extensive survey of NOx+ ratios measured for variouspRONO2 compounds and mixtures from multiple AMS instruments, groups, and laboratory and field measurements. All data and analysispresented here are for use with the standard AMS vaporizer. We show that, in the absence of pRONO2 standards, thepRONO2 NOx+ ratio can be estimated using a ratio referenced to the calibrated NH4NO3 ratio, aso-called “Ratio-of-Ratios” method (RoR = 2.75 ± 0.41). We systematically explore the basis for quantifyingpRONO2 (and NH4NO3) with the RoR method using ground and aircraft field measurements conducted over a largerange of conditions. The method is compared to another AMS method (positive matrix factorization, PMF) and other pRONO2 andrelated (e.g., total gas + particle RONO2) measurements, generally showing good agreement/correlation. A broad survey of ground andaircraft AMS measurements shows a pervasive trend of higher fractional contribution of pRONO2 to total nitrate with lower totalnitrate concentrations, which generally corresponds to shifts from urban-influenced to rural/remote regions. Compared to ground campaigns,observations from all aircraft campaigns showed substantially lower pRONO2 contributions at midranges of total nitrate(0.01–0.1 up to 2–5 µg m−3), suggesting that the balance of effects controlling NH4NO3 and pRONO2formation and lifetimes – such as higher humidity, lower temperatures, greater dilution, different sources, higher particle acidity, andpRONO2 hydrolysis (possibly accelerated by particle acidity) – favors lower pRONO2 contributions for thoseenvironments and altitudes sampled. 
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  6. Abstract. Glyoxal (CHOCHO), the simplest dicarbonyl in thetroposphere, is a potential precursor for secondary organic aerosol (SOA)and brown carbon (BrC) affecting air quality and climate. The airbornemeasurement of CHOCHO concentrations during the KORUS-AQ (KORea–US AirQuality study) campaign in 2016 enables detailed quantification of lossmechanisms pertaining to SOA formation in the real atmosphere. Theproduction of this molecule was mainly from oxidation of aromatics (59 %)initiated by hydroxyl radical (OH). CHOCHO loss to aerosol was found to bethe most important removal path (69 %) and contributed to roughly∼ 20 % (3.7 µg sm−3 ppmv−1 h−1,normalized with excess CO) of SOA growth in the first 6 h in SeoulMetropolitan Area. A reactive uptake coefficient (γ) of∼ 0.008 best represents the loss of CHOCHO by surface uptakeduring the campaign. To our knowledge, we show the first field observationof aerosol surface-area-dependent (Asurf) CHOCHO uptake, which divergesfrom the simple surface uptake assumption as Asurf increases in ambientcondition. Specifically, under the low (high) aerosol loading, the CHOCHOeffective uptake rate coefficient, keff,uptake, linearly increases(levels off) with Asurf; thus, the irreversible surface uptake is areasonable (unreasonable) approximation for simulating CHOCHO loss toaerosol. Dependence on photochemical impact and changes in the chemical andphysical aerosol properties “free water”, as well as aerosol viscosity,are discussed as other possible factors influencing CHOCHO uptake rate. Ourinferred Henry's law coefficient of CHOCHO, 7.0×108 M atm−1, is ∼ 2 orders of magnitude higher than thoseestimated from salting-in effects constrained by inorganic salts onlyconsistent with laboratory findings that show similar high partitioning intowater-soluble organics, which urges more understanding on CHOCHO solubilityunder real atmospheric conditions. 
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  7. Abstract. The evolution of organic aerosol (OA) and aerosol sizedistributions within smoke plumes is uncertain due to the variability inrates of coagulation and OA condensation/evaporation between different smokeplumes and at different locations within a single plume. We use aircraftdata from the FIREX-AQ campaign to evaluate differences in evolving aerosolsize distributions, OA, and oxygen to carbon ratios (O:C) between and withinsmoke plumes during the first several hours of aging as a function of smokeconcentration. The observations show that the median particle diameterincreases faster in smoke of a higher initial OA concentration (>1000 µg m−3), with diameter growth of over 100 nm in 8 h – despite generally having a net decrease in OA enhancementratios – than smoke of a lower initial OA concentration (<100 µg m−3), which had net increases in OA. Observations of OA and O:Csuggest that evaporation and/or secondary OA formation was greater in lessconcentrated smoke prior to the first measurement (5–57 min afteremission). We simulate the size changes due to coagulation and dilution andadjust for OA condensation/evaporation based on the observed changes in OA.We found that coagulation explains the majority of the diameter growth, withOA evaporation/condensation having a relatively minor impact. We found thatmixing between the core and edges of the plume generally occurred ontimescales of hours, slow enough to maintain differences in aging betweencore and edge but too fast to ignore the role of mixing for most of our cases. 
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  8. Abstract

    The NOAA/NASA Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality (FIREX‐AQ) experiment was a multi‐agency, inter‐disciplinary research effort to: (a) obtain detailed measurements of trace gas and aerosol emissions from wildfires and prescribed fires using aircraft, satellites and ground‐based instruments, (b) make extensive suborbital remote sensing measurements of fire dynamics, (c) assess local, regional, and global modeling of fires, and (d) strengthen connections to observables on the ground such as fuels and fuel consumption and satellite products such as burned area and fire radiative power. From Boise, ID western wildfires were studied with the NASA DC‐8 and two NOAA Twin Otter aircraft. The high‐altitude NASA ER‐2 was deployed from Palmdale, CA to observe some of these fires in conjunction with satellite overpasses and the other aircraft. Further research was conducted on three mobile laboratories and ground sites, and 17 different modeling forecast and analyses products for fire, fuels and air quality and climate implications. From Salina, KS the DC‐8 investigated 87 smaller fires in the Southeast with remote and in‐situ data collection. Sampling by all platforms was designed to measure emissions of trace gases and aerosols with multiple transects to capture the chemical transformation of these emissions and perform remote sensing observations of fire and smoke plumes under day and night conditions. The emissions were linked to fuels consumed and fire radiative power using orbital and suborbital remote sensing observations collected during overflights of the fires and smoke plumes and ground sampling of fuels.

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