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  1. Wildfire smoke contains numerous different reactive organic gases, many of which have only recently been identified and quantified. Consequently, their relative importance as an oxidant sink is poorly constrained, resulting in incomplete representation in both global chemical transport models (CTMs) and explicit chemical mechanisms. Leveraging 160 gas-phase measurements made during the Western Wildfire Experiment for Cloud Chemistry, Aerosol Absorption, and Nitrogen (WE-CAN) aircraft campaign, we calculate OH reactivities (OHRs) for western U.S. wildfire emissions, smoke aged >3 days, smoke-impacted and low/no smoke-impacted urban atmospheres, and the clean free troposphere. VOCs were found to account for ∼80% of the total calculated OHR in wildfire emissions, with at least half of the field VOC OHR not currently implemented for biomass burning (BB) emissions in the commonly used GEOS-Chem CTM. To improve the representation of OHR, we recommend CTMs implement furan-containing species, butadienes, and monoterpenes for BB. The Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM) was found to account for 88% of VOC OHR in wildfire emissions and captures its observed decay in the first few hours of aging, indicating that most known VOC OH sinks are included in the explicit mechanisms. We find BB smoke enhanced the average total OHR by 53% relative to themore »low/no smoke urban background, mainly due to the increase in VOCs and CO thus promoting urban ozone production. This work highlights the most important VOC species for daytime BB plume oxidation and provides a roadmap for which species should be prioritized in next-generation CTMs to better predict the downwind air quality and health impacts of BB smoke.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 19, 2024
  2. 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,more »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.« less
  3. Abstract. Chemical ionization mass spectrometry (CIMS) techniques have becomeprominent methods for sampling trace gases of relatively low volatility.Such gases are often referred to as being “sticky”, i.e., havingmeasurement artifacts due to interactions between analyte molecules andinstrument walls, given their tendency to interact with wall surfaces viaabsorption or adsorption processes. These surface interactions can impactthe precision, accuracy, and detection limits of the measurements. Weintroduce a low-pressure ion–molecule reaction (IMR) region primarily builtfor performing iodide-adduct ionization, though other adduct ionizationschemes could be employed. The design goals were to improve upon previouslow-pressure IMR versions by reducing impacts of wall interactions at lowpressure while maintaining sufficient ion–molecule reaction times. Chambermeasurements demonstrate that the IMR delay times (i.e., magnitude of wallinteractions) for a range of organic molecules spanning 5 orders ofmagnitude in volatility are 3 to 10 times lower in the new IMR compared toprevious versions. Despite these improvements, wall interactions are stillpresent and need to be understood. To that end, we also introduce aconceptual framework for considering instrument wall interactions and ameasurement protocol to accurately capture the time dependence of analyteconcentrations. This protocol uses short-duration, high-frequencymeasurements of the total background (i.e., fast zeros) during ambientmeasurements as well as during calibration factor determinations. Thisframework and associatedmore »terminology applies to any instrument andionization technique that samples compounds susceptible to wallinteractions.« less
  4. Abstract. The GoAmazon 2014/5 field campaign took place in Manaus, Brazil, and allowed the investigation of the interaction between background-level biogenic air masses and anthropogenic plumes.We present in this work a box model built to simulate the impact of urban chemistry on biogenic secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation and composition.An organic chemistry mechanism is generated with the Generator for Explicit Chemistry and Kinetics of Organics in the Atmosphere (GECKO-A) to simulate the explicit oxidation of biogenic and anthropogenic compounds.A parameterization is also included to account for the reactive uptake of isoprene oxidation products on aqueous particles.The biogenic emissions estimated from existing emission inventories had to be reduced to match measurements.The model is able to reproduce ozone and NOx for clean and polluted situations.The explicit model is able to reproduce background case SOA mass concentrations but does not capture the enhancement observed in the urban plume.The oxidation of biogenic compounds is the major contributor to SOA mass.A volatility basis set (VBS) parameterization applied to the same cases obtains better results than GECKO-A for predicting SOA mass in the box model.The explicit mechanism may be missing SOA-formation processes related to the oxidation of monoterpenes that could be implicitly accounted for in themore »VBS parameterization.« less
  5. The evolution of organic aerosol (OA) and brown carbon (BrC) in wildfire plumes, including the relative contributions of primary versus secondary sources, has been uncertain in part because of limited knowledge of the precursor emissions and the chemical environment of smoke plumes. We made airborne measurements of a suite of reactive trace gases, particle composition, and optical properties in fresh western US wildfire smoke in July through August 2018. We use these observations to quantify primary versus secondary sources of biomass-burning OA (BBPOA versus BBSOA) and BrC in wildfire plumes. When a daytime wildfire plume dilutes by a factor of 5 to 10, we estimate that up to one-third of the primary OA has evaporated and subsequently reacted to form BBSOA with near unit yield. The reactions of measured BBSOA precursors contribute only 13 ± 3% of the total BBSOA source, with evaporated BBPOA comprising the rest. We find that oxidation of phenolic compounds contributes the majority of BBSOA from emitted vapors. The corresponding particulate nitrophenolic compounds are estimated to explain 29 ± 15% of average BrC light absorption at 405 nm (BrC Abs405) measured in the first few hours of plume evolution, despite accounting for just 4 ± 2%more »of average OA mass. These measurements provide quantitative constraints on the role of dilution-driven evaporation of OA and subsequent radical-driven oxidation on the fate of biomass-burning OA and BrC in daytime wildfire plumes and point to the need to understand how processing of nighttime emissions differs.

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