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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-06-11
    Description: Organic aerosol (OA) is one of the main components of the global particulate burden and intimately links natural and anthropogenic emissions with air quality and climate. It is challenging to accurately represent OA in global models. Direct quantification of global OA abundance is not possible with current remote sensing technology; however, it may be possible to exploit correlations of OA with remotely observable quantities to infer OA spatiotemporal distributions. In particular, formaldehyde (HCHO) and OA share common sources via both primary emissions and secondary production from oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Here, we examine OAHCHO correlations using data from summertime airborne campaigns investigating biogenic (NASA SEAC4RS and DC3), biomass burning (NASA SEAC4RS), and anthropogenic conditions (NOAA CalNex and NASA KORUS-AQ). In situ OA correlates well with HCHO (r=0.590.97), and the slope and intercept of this relationship depend on the chemical regime. For biogenic and anthropogenic regions, the OAHCHO slopes are higher in low NOx conditions, because HCHO yields are lower and aerosol yields are likely higher. The OAHCHO slope of wildfires is over 9 times higher than that for biogenic and anthropogenic sources. The OAHCHO slope is higher for highly polluted anthropogenic sources (e.g., KORUS-AQ) than less polluted (e.g., CalNex) anthropogenic sources. Near-surface OAs over the continental US are estimated by combining the observed in situ relationships with HCHO column retrievals from NASA's Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI). HCHO vertical profiles used in OA estimates are from climatology a priori profiles in the OMI HCHO retrieval or output of specific period from a newer version of GEOS-Chem. Our OA estimates compare well with US EPA IMPROVE data obtained over summer months (e.g., slope =0.600.62, r=0.56 for August 2013), with correlation performance comparable to intensively validated GEOS-Chem (e.g., slope =0.57, r=0.56) with IMPROVE OA and superior to the satellite-derived total aerosol extinction (r=0.41) with IMPROVE OA. This indicates that OA estimates are not very sensitive to these HCHO vertical profiles and that a priori profiles from OMI HCHO retrieval have a similar performance to that of the newer model version in estimating OA. Improving the detection limit of satellite HCHO and expanding in situ airborne HCHO and OA coverage in future missions will improve the quality and spatiotemporal coverage of our OA estimates, potentially enabling constraints on global OA distribution.
    Keywords: Geosciences (General)
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN68210 , Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ISSN 1680-7316) (e-ISSN 1680-7324); 19; 5; 2765-2785
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: The Rim Fire of 2013, the third largest area burned by fire recorded in California history, is simulated by a climate model coupled with a size-resolved aerosol model. Modeled aerosol mass, number and particle size distribution are within variability of data obtained from multiple airborne in-situ measurements. Simulations suggest Rim Fire smoke may block 4-6 of sunlight energy reaching the surface, with a dimming efficiency around 120-150 W m(exp -2) per unit aerosol optical depth in the mid-visible at 13:00-15:00 local time. Underestimation of simulated smoke single scattering albedo at mid-visible by 0.04 suggests the model overestimates either the particle size or the absorption due to black carbon. This study shows that exceptional events like the 2013 Rim Fire can be simulated by a climate model with one-degree resolution with overall good skill, though that resolution is still not sufficient to resolve the smoke peak near the source region.
    Keywords: Geosciences (General)
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN41437 , Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (ISSN 2169-897X) (e-ISSN 2169-8996); 121; 12; 7079–7087
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Wildfires emit significant amounts of pollutants that degrade air quality. Plumes from three wildfires in the western U.S. were measured from aircraft during the Studies of Emissions and Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys (SEAC4RS) and the Biomass Burning Observation Project (BBOP), both in summer 2013. This study reports an extensive set of emission factors (EFs) for over 80 gases and 5 components of submicron particulate matter (PM1) from these temperate wildfires. These include rarely, or never before, measured oxygenated volatile organic compounds and multifunctional organic nitrates. The observed EFs are compared with previous measurements of temperate wildfires, boreal forest fires, and temperate prescribed fires. The wildfires emitted high amounts of PM1 (with organic aerosol (OA) dominating the mass) with an average EF that is more than 2 times the EFs for prescribed fires. The measured EFs were used to estimate the annual wildfire emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, total non methane organic compounds, and PM1 from 11 western U.S. states. The estimated gas emissions are generally comparable with the 2011 National Emissions Inventory (NEI). However, our PM1 emission estimate (1530 +/- 570 Gg/yr) is over 3 times that of the NEI PM2.5 estimate and is also higher than the PM2.5 emitted from all other sources in these states in the NEI. This study indicates that the source of OA from biomass burning in the western states is significantly underestimated. In addition, our results indicate that prescribed burning may be an effective method to reduce fine particle emissions.
    Keywords: Environment Pollution
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN44715 , Journal of Geophysical Research (ISSN 2169-897X); 122; 11; 6108-6129
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2019-06-06
    Description: From 2016 to 2018 a DC-8 aircraft operated by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) made four series of flights, profiling the atmosphere from 180 m to ∼12 km above sea level (km a.s.l.) from the Arctic to the Antarctic over both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. This program, the Atmospheric Tomography Mission (ATom), sought to sample the troposphere in a representative manner, making measurements of atmospheric composition in each season. This paper describes the aerosol microphysical measurements and derived quantities obtained during this mission. Dry size distributions from 2.7 nm to 4.8 µm in diameter were measured in situ at 1 Hz using a battery of instruments: 10 condensation particle counters with different nucleation diameters, two ultra-high-sensitivity aerosol size spectrometers (UHSASs), one of which measured particles surviving heating to 300 ∘C, and a laser aerosol spectrometer (LAS). The dry aerosol measurements were complemented by size distribution measurements from 0.5 to 930 µm diameter at near-ambient conditions using a cloud, aerosol, and precipitation spectrometer (CAPS) mounted under the wing of the DC-8. Dry aerosol number, surface area, and volume, and optical scattering and asymmetry parameters at several wavelengths from the near-UV to the near-IR ranges were calculated from the measured dry size distributions (2.7 nm to 4.8 µm). Dry aerosol mass was estimated by combining the size distribution data with particle density estimated from independent measurements of aerosol composition with a high-resolution aerosol mass spectrometer and a single-particle soot photometer. We describe the instrumentation and fully document the aircraft inlet and flow distribution system, the derivation of uncertainties, and the calculation of data products from combined size distributions. Comparisons between the instruments and direct measurements of some aerosol properties confirm that in-flight performance was consistent with calibrations and within stated uncertainties for the two deployments analyzed. The unique ATom dataset contains accurate, precise, high-resolution in situ measurements of dry aerosol size distributions, and integral parameters, and estimates and measurements of optical properties, for particles 〈 4.8 µm in diameter that can be used to evaluate aerosol abundance and processes in global models.
    Print ISSN: 1867-1381
    Electronic ISSN: 1867-8548
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2017-08-15
    Description: Aerosol mass spectrometers (AMSs) and Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitors (ACSMs) commercialized by Aerodyne are widely used to measure the non-refractory species in submicron particles. With the standard vapourizer (SV) that is installed in all commercial instruments to date, the quantification of ambient aerosol mass concentration requires the use of the collection efficiency (CE) to correct for the loss of particles due to bounce. A new capture vapourizer (CV) has been designed to reduce the need for a bounce-related CE correction. Two high-resolution AMS instruments, one with a SV and one with a CV, were operated side by side in the laboratory. Four standard species, NH4NO3, NaNO3, (NH4)2SO4 and NH4Cl, which typically constitute the majority of the mass of ambient submicron inorganic species, are studied. The effect of vapourizer temperature (Tv ∼ 200–800°C) on the detected fragments, CE and size distributions are investigated. A Tv of 500–550°C for the CV is recommended. In the CV, CE was identical (around unity) for more volatile species (e.g. NH4NO3) and comparable to or higher than the SV for less-volatile species (e.g. (NH4)2SO4), demonstrating an improvement in CE for laboratory inorganic species in the CV. The detected relative intensities of fragments of NO3 and SO4 species observed with the CV are different from those observed with the SV, and are consistent with additional thermal decomposition arising from the increased residence time and multiple collisions. Increased residence times with the CV also lead to broader particle size distribution measurements than with the SV. A method for estimating whether pure species will be detected in AMS sizing mode is proposed. Production of CO2(g) from sampled nitrate on the vapourizer surface, which has been reported for the SV, is negligible for the CV for NH4NO3 and comparable to the SV for NaNO3. . We observe an extremely consistent fragmentation for ammonium compared to very large changes for the associated anions. Together with other evidence, this indicates that it is unlikely that a major fraction of inorganic species vapourizes as intact salts in the AMS.
    Print ISSN: 1867-1381
    Electronic ISSN: 1867-8548
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2019-03-04
    Description: Organic aerosol (OA) is one of the main components of the global particulate burden and intimately links natural and anthropogenic emissions with air quality and climate. It is challenging to accurately represent OA in global models. Direct quantification of global OA abundance is not possible with current remote sensing technology; however, it may be possible to exploit correlations of OA with remotely observable quantities to infer OA spatiotemporal distributions. In particular, formaldehyde (HCHO) and OA share common sources via both primary emissions and secondary production from oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Here, we examine OA–HCHO correlations using data from summertime airborne campaigns investigating biogenic (NASA SEAC4RS and DC3), biomass burning (NASA SEAC4RS), and anthropogenic conditions (NOAA CalNex and NASA KORUS-AQ). In situ OA correlates well with HCHO (r=0.59–0.97), and the slope and intercept of this relationship depend on the chemical regime. For biogenic and anthropogenic regions, the OA–HCHO slopes are higher in low NOx conditions, because HCHO yields are lower and aerosol yields are likely higher. The OA–HCHO slope of wildfires is over 9 times higher than that for biogenic and anthropogenic sources. The OA–HCHO slope is higher for highly polluted anthropogenic sources (e.g., KORUS-AQ) than less polluted (e.g., CalNex) anthropogenic sources. Near-surface OAs over the continental US are estimated by combining the observed in situ relationships with HCHO column retrievals from NASA's Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI). HCHO vertical profiles used in OA estimates are from climatology a priori profiles in the OMI HCHO retrieval or output of specific period from a newer version of GEOS-Chem. Our OA estimates compare well with US EPA IMPROVE data obtained over summer months (e.g., slope =0.60–0.62, r=0.56 for August 2013), with correlation performance comparable to intensively validated GEOS-Chem (e.g., slope =0.57, r=0.56) with IMPROVE OA and superior to the satellite-derived total aerosol extinction (r=0.41) with IMPROVE OA. This indicates that OA estimates are not very sensitive to these HCHO vertical profiles and that a priori profiles from OMI HCHO retrieval have a similar performance to that of the newer model version in estimating OA. Improving the detection limit of satellite HCHO and expanding in situ airborne HCHO and OA coverage in future missions will improve the quality and spatiotemporal coverage of our OA estimates, potentially enabling constraints on global OA distribution.
    Print ISSN: 1680-7316
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7324
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2018-08-16
    Description: Nighttime reaction of nitrate radicals (NO3) with biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOC) has been proposed as a potentially important but also highly uncertain source of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). The southeastern United States has both high BVOC and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, resulting in a large model-predicted NO3-BVOC source of SOA. Coal-fired power plants in this region constitute substantial NOx emissions point sources into a nighttime atmosphere characterized by high regionally widespread concentrations of isoprene. In this paper, we exploit nighttime aircraft observations of these power plant plumes, in which NO3 radicals rapidly remove isoprene, to obtain field-based estimates of the secondary organic aerosol yield from NO3 + isoprene. Observed in-plume increases in nitrate aerosol are consistent with organic nitrate aerosol production from NO3 + isoprene, and these are used to determine molar SOA yields, for which the average over nine plumes is 9 % (±5 %). Corresponding mass yields depend on the assumed molecular formula for isoprene-NO3-SOA, but the average over nine plumes is 27 % (±14 %), on average larger than those previously measured in chamber studies (12 %–14 % mass yield as ΔOA ∕ ΔVOC after oxidation of both double bonds). Yields are larger for longer plume ages. This suggests that ambient aging processes lead more effectively to condensable material than typical chamber conditions allow. We discuss potential mechanistic explanations for this difference, including longer ambient peroxy radical lifetimes and heterogeneous reactions of NO3-isoprene gas phase products. More in-depth studies are needed to better understand the aerosol yield and oxidation mechanism of NO3 radical + isoprene, a coupled anthropogenic–biogenic source of SOA that may be regionally significant.
    Print ISSN: 1680-7316
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7324
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2018-08-28
    Description: Oxidation flow reactors (OFRs) allow the concentration of a given atmospheric oxidant to be increased beyond ambient levels in order to study secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation and aging over varying periods of equivalent aging by that oxidant. Previous studies have used these reactors to determine the bulk OA mass and chemical evolution. To our knowledge, no OFR study has focused on the interpretation of the evolving aerosol size distributions. In this study, we use size-distribution measurements of the OFR and an aerosol microphysics model to learn about size-dependent processes in the OFR. Specifically, we use OFR exposures between 0.09 and 0.9 equivalent days of OH aging from the 2011 BEACHON-RoMBAS and GoAmazon2014/5 field campaigns. We use simulations in the TOMAS (TwO-Moment Aerosol Sectional) microphysics box model to constrain the following parameters in the OFR: (1) the rate constant of gas-phase functionalization reactions of organic compounds with OH, (2) the rate constant of gas-phase fragmentation reactions of organic compounds with OH, (3) the reactive uptake coefficient for heterogeneous fragmentation reactions with OH, (4) the nucleation rate constants for three different nucleation schemes, and (5) an effective accommodation coefficient that accounts for possible particle diffusion limitations of particles larger than 60nm in diameter. We find the best model-to-measurement agreement when the accommodation coefficient of the larger particles (Dp〉60nm) was 0.1 or lower (with an accommodation coefficient of 1 for smaller particles), which suggests a diffusion limitation in the larger particles. When using these low accommodation-coefficient values, the model agrees with measurements when using a published H2SO4-organics nucleation mechanism and previously published values of rate constants for gas-phase oxidation reactions. Further, gas-phase fragmentation was found to have a significant impact upon the size distribution, and including fragmentation was necessary for accurately simulating the distributions in the OFR. The model was insensitive to the value of the reactive uptake coefficient on these aging timescales. Monoterpenes and isoprene could explain 24%–95% of the observed change in total volume of aerosol in the OFR, with ambient semivolatile and intermediate-volatility organic compounds (S/IVOCs) appearing to explain the remainder of the change in total volume. These results provide support to the mass-based findings of previous OFR studies, give insight to important size-distribution dynamics in the OFR, and enable the design of future OFR studies focused on new particle formation and/or microphysical processes.
    Print ISSN: 1680-7316
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7324
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2018-11-08
    Description: The formation of sulfate and secondary organic aerosol mass in the aqueous phase (aqSOA) of cloud and fog droplets can significantly contribute to ambient aerosol mass. While tracer compounds give evidence that aqueous-phase processing occurred, they do not reveal the extent to which particle properties have been modified in terms of mass, chemical composition, hygroscopicity, and oxidation state. We analyze data from several field experiments and model studies for six air mass types (urban, biogenic, marine, wild fire biomass burning, agricultural biomass burning, and background air) using aerosol size and composition measurements for particles 13–850nm in diameter. We focus on the trends of changes in mass, hygroscopicity parameter κ, and oxygen-to-carbon (O∕C) ratio due to chemical cloud processing. We find that the modification of these parameters upon cloud processing is most evident in urban, marine, and biogenic air masses, i.e., air masses that are more polluted than very clean air (background air) but cleaner than heavily polluted plumes as encountered during biomass burning. Based on these trends, we suggest that the mass ratio (Rtot) of the potential aerosol sulfate and aqSOA mass to the initial aerosol mass can be used to predict whether chemical cloud processing will be detectable. Scenarios in which this ratio exceeds Rtot∼0.5 are the most likely ones in which clouds can significantly change aerosol parameters. It should be noted that the absolute value of Rtot depends on the considered size range of particles. Rtot is dominated by the addition of sulfate (Rsulf) in all scenarios due to the more efficient conversion of SO2 to sulfate compared to aqSOA formation from organic gases. As the formation processes of aqSOA are still poorly understood, the estimate of RaqSOA is likely associated with large uncertainties. Comparison to Rtot values as calculated for ambient data at different locations validates the applicability of the concept to predict a chemical cloud-processing signature in selected air masses.
    Print ISSN: 1680-7316
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7324
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2018-12-14
    Description: Organic aerosol (OA) is an important fraction of submicron aerosols. However, it is challenging to predict and attribute the specific organic compounds and sources that lead to observed OA loadings, largely due to contributions from secondary production. This is especially true for megacities surrounded by numerous regional sources that create an OA background. Here, we utilize in situ gas and aerosol observations collected on board the NASA DC-8 during the NASA–NIER KORUS-AQ (Korea–United States Air Quality) campaign to investigate the sources and hydrocarbon precursors that led to the secondary OA (SOA) production observed over Seoul. First, we investigate the contribution of transported OA to total loadings observed over Seoul by using observations over the Yellow Sea coupled to FLEXPART Lagrangian simulations. During KORUS-AQ, the average OA loading advected into Seoul was ∼1–3 µg sm−3. Second, taking this background into account, the dilution-corrected SOA concentration observed over Seoul was ∼140 µgsm-3ppmv-1 at 0.5 equivalent photochemical days. This value is at the high end of what has been observed in other megacities around the world (20–70 µgsm-3ppmv-1 at 0.5 equivalent days). For the average OA concentration observed over Seoul (13 µg sm−3), it is clear that production of SOA from locally emitted precursors is the major source in the region. The importance of local SOA production was supported by the following observations. (1) FLEXPART source contribution calculations indicate any hydrocarbons with a lifetime of less than 1 day, which are shown to dominate the observed SOA production, mainly originate from South Korea. (2) SOA correlated strongly with other secondary photochemical species, including short-lived species (formaldehyde, peroxy acetyl nitrate, sum of acyl peroxy nitrates, dihydroxytoluene, and nitrate aerosol). (3) Results from an airborne oxidation flow reactor (OFR), flown for the first time, show a factor of 4.5 increase in potential SOA concentrations over Seoul versus over the Yellow Sea, a region where background air masses that are advected into Seoul can be measured. (4) Box model simulations reproduce SOA observed over Seoul within 11 % on average and suggest that short-lived hydrocarbons (i.e., xylenes, trimethylbenzenes, and semi-volatile and intermediate-volatility compounds) were the main SOA precursors over Seoul. Toluene alone contributes 9 % of the modeled SOA over Seoul. Finally, along with these results, we use the metric ΔOA/ΔCO2 to examine the amount of OA produced per fuel consumed in a megacity, which shows less variability across the world than ΔOA∕ΔCO.
    Print ISSN: 1680-7316
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7324
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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