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  1. Terrestrial volcanism is known to emit mercury (Hg) into the atmosphere. However, despite many years of investigation, its net impact on the atmospheric Hg budget remains insufficiently constrained, in part because the transformations of Hg in volcanic plumes as they age and mix with background air are poorly understood. Here we report the observation of complete gaseous elemental mercury (GEM) depletion events in dilute and moderately aged (∼3–7 hours) volcanic plumes from Piton de la Fournaise on Réunion Island. While it has been suggested that co-emitted bromine could, once photochemically activated, deplete GEM in a volcanic plume, we measured low bromine concentrations in both the gas- and particle-phase and observed complete GEM depletion even before sunrise, ruling out a leading role of bromine chemistry here. Instead, we hypothesize that the GEM depletions were mainly caused by gas–particle interactions with sulfate-rich volcanic particles (mostly of submicron size), abundantly present in the dilute plume. We consider heterogeneous GEM oxidation and GEM uptake by particles as plausible manifestations of such a process and derive empirical rate constants. By extrapolation, we estimate that volcanic aerosols may scavenge 210 Mg y−1 (67–480 Mg y−1) of Hg from the atmosphere globally, acting effectively as atmospheric mercury sink. While this estimate is subject to large uncertainties, it highlights that Hg transformations in aging volcanic plumes must be better understood to determine the net impact of volcanism on the atmospheric Hg budget and Hg deposition pathways. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 12, 2024
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  4. Abstract The interaction between nitrogen monoxide (NO) and organic peroxy radicals (RO 2 ) greatly impacts the formation of highly oxygenated organic molecules (HOM), the key precursors of secondary organic aerosols. It has been thought that HOM production can be significantly suppressed by NO even at low concentrations. Here, we perform dedicated experiments focusing on HOM formation from monoterpenes at low NO concentrations (0 – 82 pptv). We demonstrate that such low NO can enhance HOM production by modulating the RO 2 loss and favoring the formation of alkoxy radicals that can continue to autoxidize through isomerization. These insights suggest that HOM yields from typical boreal forest emissions can vary between 2.5%-6.5%, and HOM formation will not be completely inhibited even at high NO concentrations. Our findings challenge the notion that NO monotonically reduces HOM yields by extending the knowledge of RO 2 -NO interactions to the low-NO regime. This represents a major advance towards an accurate assessment of HOM budgets, especially in low-NO environments, which prevails in the pre-industrial atmosphere, pristine areas, and the upper boundary layer. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  5. The main nucleating vapor in the atmosphere is thought to be sulfuric acid (H2SO4), stabilized by ammonia (NH3). However, in marine and polar regions, NH3is generally low, and H2SO4is frequently found together with iodine oxoacids [HIOx, i.e., iodic acid (HIO3) and iodous acid (HIO2)]. In experiments performed with the CERN CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets) chamber, we investigated the interplay of H2SO4and HIOxduring atmospheric particle nucleation. We found that HIOxgreatly enhances H2SO4(-NH3) nucleation through two different interactions. First, HIO3strongly binds with H2SO4in charged clusters so they drive particle nucleation synergistically. Second, HIO2substitutes for NH3, forming strongly bound H2SO4-HIO2acid-base pairs in molecular clusters. Global observations imply that HIOxis enhancing H2SO4(-NH3) nucleation rates 10- to 10,000-fold in marine and polar regions.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 15, 2024
  6. Biogenic vapors form new particles in the atmosphere, affecting global climate. The contributions of monoterpenes and isoprene to new particle formation (NPF) have been extensively studied. However, sesquiterpenes have received little attention despite a potentially important role due to their high molecular weight. Via chamber experiments performed under atmospheric conditions, we report biogenic NPF resulting from the oxidation of pure mixtures of β-caryophyllene, α-pinene, and isoprene, which produces oxygenated compounds over a wide range of volatilities. We find that a class of vapors termed ultralow-volatility organic compounds (ULVOCs) are highly efficient nucleators and quantitatively determine NPF efficiency. When compared with a mixture of isoprene and monoterpene alone, adding only 2% sesquiterpene increases the ULVOC yield and doubles the formation rate. Thus, sesquiterpene emissions need to be included in assessments of global aerosol concentrations in pristine climates where biogenic NPF is expected to be a major source of cloud condensation nuclei.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 8, 2024
  7. Iodine is an atmospheric trace element emitted from oceans that efficiently destroys ozone (O 3 ). Low O 3 in airborne dust layers is frequently observed but poorly understood. We show that dust is a source of gas-phase iodine, indicated by aircraft observations of iodine monoxide (IO) radicals inside lofted dust layers from the Atacama and Sechura Deserts that are up to a factor of 10 enhanced over background. Gas-phase iodine photochemistry, commensurate with observed IO, is needed to explain the low O 3 inside these dust layers (below 15 ppbv; up to 75% depleted). The added dust iodine can explain decreases in O 3 of 8% regionally and affects surface air quality. Our data suggest that iodate reduction to form volatile iodine species is a missing process in the geochemical iodine cycle and presents an unrecognized aeolian source of iodine. Atmospheric iodine has tripled since 1950 and affects ozone layer recovery and particle formation. 
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  8. Abstract. This study presents a characterization of the hygroscopic growth behaviour and effects of different inorganic seed particles on the formation of secondary organic aerosols (SOAs) from the dark ozone-initiated oxidation of isoprene at low NOx conditions. We performed simulations of isoprene oxidation using a gas-phase chemical reaction mechanism based onthe Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM) in combination with an equilibriumgas–particle partitioning model to predict the SOA concentration. Theequilibrium model accounts for non-ideal mixing in liquid phases, includingliquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS), and is based on the AIOMFAC (Aerosol Inorganic–Organic Mixtures Functional groups Activity Coefficients) model for mixture non-ideality and the EVAPORATION (Estimation of VApour Pressure of ORganics, Accounting for Temperature,Intramolecular, and Non-additivity effects) model for pure compound vapourpressures. Measurements from the Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets (CLOUD)chamber experiments, conducted at the European Organization for NuclearResearch (CERN) for isoprene ozonolysis cases, were used to aid inparameterizing the SOA yields at different atmospherically relevanttemperatures, relative humidity (RH), and reacted isoprene concentrations. To represent the isoprene-ozonolysis-derived SOA, a selection of organicsurrogate species is introduced in the coupled modelling system. The modelpredicts a single, homogeneously mixed particle phase at all relativehumidity levels for SOA formation in the absence of any inorganic seedparticles. In the presence of aqueous sulfuric acid or ammonium bisulfateseed particles, the model predicts LLPS to occur below ∼ 80 % RH, where the particles consist of an inorganic-rich liquid phase andan organic-rich liquid phase; however, this includes significant amounts of bisulfate and water partitioned to the organic-rich phase. The measurements show an enhancement in the SOA amounts at 85 % RH, compared to 35 % RH, for both the seed-free and seeded cases. The model predictions of RH-dependent SOA yield enhancements at 85 % RH vs. 35 % RH are 1.80 for a seed-free case, 1.52 for the case with ammonium bisulfate seed, and 1.06 for the case with sulfuric acid seed. Predicted SOA yields are enhanced in the presence of an aqueous inorganic seed, regardless of the seed type (ammonium sulfate, ammonium bisulfate, or sulfuric acid) in comparison with seed-free conditions at the same RH level. We discuss the comparison of model-predicted SOA yields with a selection of other laboratory studies on isoprene SOA formation conducted at different temperatures and for a variety of reacted isoprene concentrations. Those studies were conducted at RH levels at or below 40 % with reported SOA mass yields ranging from 0.3 % up to 9.0 %, indicating considerable variations. A robust feature of our associated gas–particle partitioning calculations covering the whole RH range is the predicted enhancement of SOA yield at high RH (> 80 %) compared to low RH (dry) conditions, which is explained by the effect of particle water uptake and its impact on the equilibrium partitioning of all components. 
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  9. Abstract. In this paper, we present a new version of the chemistry–climate model SOCOL-AERv2 supplemented by an iodine chemistry module. We perform three 20-year ensemble experiments to assess the validity of the modeled iodine and to quantify the effects of iodine on ozone. The iodine distributions obtained with SOCOL-AERv2-I agree well with AMAX-DOAS observations and with CAM-chem model simulations. For the present-day atmosphere, the model suggests that the iodine-induced chemistry leads to a 3 %–4 % reduction in the ozone column, which is greatest at high latitudes. The model indicates the strongest influence of iodine in the lower stratosphere with 30 ppbv less ozone at low latitudes and up to 100 ppbv less at high latitudes. In the troposphere, the account of the iodine chemistry reduces the tropospheric ozone concentration by 5 %–10 % depending on geographical location. In the lower troposphere, 75 % of the modeled ozone reduction originates from inorganic sources of iodine, 25 % from organic sources of iodine. At 50 hPa, the results show that the impacts of iodine from both sources are comparable. Finally, we determine the sensitivity of ozone to iodine by applying a 2-fold increase in iodine emissions, as it might be representative for iodine by the end of this century. This reduces the ozone column globally by an additional 1.5 %–2.5 %. Our results demonstrate the sensitivity of atmospheric ozone to iodine chemistry for present and future conditions, but uncertainties remain high due to the paucity of observational data of iodine species. 
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