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  • 1
    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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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Oxidation flow reactors (OFRs) using low-pressure Hg lamp emission at 185 and 254 nm produce OH radicals efficiently and are widely used in atmospheric chemistry and other fields. However, knowledge of detailed OFR chemistry is limited, allowing speculation in the literature about whether some non-OH reactants, including several not relevant for tropospheric chemistry, may play an important role in these OFRs. These non-OH reactants are UV radiation, O(1D), O(3P), and O3. In this study, we investigate the relative importance of other reactants to OH for the fate of reactant species in OFR under a wide range of conditions via box modeling. The relative importance of non-OH species is less sensitive to UV light intensity than to relative humidity (RH) and external OH reactivity (OHRext), as both non-OH reactants and OH scale roughly proportional to UV intensity. We show that for field studies in forested regions and also the urban area of Los Angeles, reactants of atmospheric interest are predominantly consumed by OH. We find that O(1D), O(3P), and O3 have relative contributions to VOC consumption that are similar or lower than in the troposphere. The impact of O atoms can be neglected under most conditions in both OFR and troposphere. Under pathological OFR conditions of low RH and/or high OHRext, the importance of non-OH reactants is enhanced because OH is suppressed. Some biogenics can have substantial destructions by O3, and photolysis at non-tropospheric wavelengths (185 and 254 nm) may also play a significant role in the degradation of some aromatics under pathological conditions. Working under low O2 with the OFR185 mode allows OH to completely dominate over O3 reactions even for the biogenic species most reactive with O3. Non-tropospheric VOC photolysis may have been a problem in some laboratory and source studies, but can be avoided or lessened in future studies by diluting source emissions and working at lower precursor concentrations in lab studies, and by humidification. SOA photolysis is shown to be insignificant for most functional groups, except for nitrates and especially aromatics, which may be photolyzed at high UV flux settings. Our work further establishes the OFR's usefulness as a tool to study atmospheric chemistry and enables better experiment design and interpretation, as well as improved future reactor design.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN31209/SUPP , Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (e-ISSN 1680-7324); 16; 7; 4283-4305
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Oxidation flow reactors (OFRs) using low-pressure Hg lamp emission at 185 and 254 nm produce OH radicals efficiently and are widely used in atmospheric chemistry and other fields. However, knowledge of detailed OFR chemistry is limited, allowing speculation in the literature about whether some non-OH reactants, including several not relevant for tropospheric chemistry, may play an important role in these OFRs. These non-OH reactants are UV radiation, O(1D), O(3P), and O3. In this study, we investigate the relative importance of other reactants to OH for the fate of reactant species in OFR under a wide range of conditions via box modeling. The relative importance of non-OH species is less sensitive to UV light intensity than to relative humidity (RH) and external OH reactivity (OHRext), as both non-OH reactants and OH scale roughly proportional to UV intensity. We show that for field studies in forested regions and also the urban area of Los Angeles, reactants of atmospheric interest are predominantly consumed by OH. We find that O(1D), O(3P), and O3 have relative contributions to VOC consumption that are similar or lower than in the troposphere. The impact of O atoms can be neglected under most conditions in both OFR and troposphere. Under pathological OFR conditions of low RH and/or high OHRext, the importance of non-OH reactants is enhanced because OH is suppressed. Some biogenics can have substantial destructions by O3, and photolysis at non-tropospheric wavelengths (185 and 254 nm) may also play a significant role in the degradation of some aromatics under pathological conditions. Working under low O2 with the OFR185 mode allows OH to completely dominate over O3 reactions even for the biogenic species most reactive with O3. Non-tropospheric VOC photolysis may have been a problem in some laboratory and source studies, but can be avoided or lessened in future studies by diluting source emissions and working at lower precursor concentrations in lab studies, and by humidification. SOA photolysis is shown to be insignificant for most functional groups, except for nitrates and especially aromatics, which may be photolyzed at high UV flux settings. Our work further establishes the OFR's usefulness as a tool to study atmospheric chemistry and enables better experiment design and interpretation, as well as improved future reactor design.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN31209 , Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (e-ISSN 1680-7324); 16; 7; 4283-4305
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  • 4
  • 5
    Publication Date: 2019-06-28
    Description: Losses of gas-phase compounds or delays on their transfer through tubing are important for atmospheric measurements and also provide a method to characterize and quantify gas–surface interactions. Here we expand recent results by comparing different types of Teflon and other polymer tubing, as well as glass, uncoated and coated stainless steel and aluminum, and other tubing materials by measuring the response to step increases and decreases in organic compound concentrations. All polymeric tubings showed absorptive partitioning behavior with no dependence on humidity or concentration, with PFA Teflon tubing performing best in our tests. Glass and uncoated and coated metal tubing showed very different phenomenology due to adsorptive partitioning to a finite number of surface sites. Strong dependencies on compound concentration, mixture composition, functional groups, humidity, and memory effects were observed for glass and uncoated and coated metals, which (except for Silonite-coated stainless steel) also always caused longer delays than Teflon for the compounds and concentrations tested. Delays for glass and uncoated and coated metal tubing were exacerbated at low relative humidity but reduced for RH 〉20 %. We find that conductive PFA and Silonite tubing perform best among the materials tested for gas-plus-particle sampling lines, combining reduced gas-phase delays with good particle transmission.
    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: 2019-06-13
    Description: Recent work has quantified the delay times in measurements of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) caused by the partitioning between the gas phase and the surfaces of the inlet tubing and instrument itself. In this study we quantify wall partitioning effects on time responses and transmission of multifunctional, semivolatile, and intermediate-volatility organic compounds (S/IVOCs) with saturation concentrations (C∗) between 100 and 104 µg m−3. The instrument delays of several chemical ionization mass spectrometer (CIMS) instruments increase with decreasing C∗, ranging from seconds to tens of minutes, except for the NO3- CIMS where it is always on the order of seconds. Six different tubing materials were tested. Teflon, including PFA, FEP, and conductive PFA, performs better than metals and Nafion in terms of both delay time and transmission efficiency. Analogous to instrument responses, tubing delays increase as C∗ decreases, from less than a minute to 〉100 min. The delays caused by Teflon tubing vs. C∗ can be modeled using the simple chromatography model of Pagonis et al. (2017). The model can be used to estimate the equivalent absorbing mass concentration (Cw) of each material, and to estimate delays under different flow rates and tubing dimensions. We also include time delay measurements from a series of small polar organic and inorganic analytes in PFA tubing measured by CIMS. Small polar molecules behave differently than larger organic ones, with their delays being predicted by their Henry's law constants instead of their C∗, suggesting the dominance of partitioning to small amounts of water on sampling surfaces as a result of their polarity and acidity properties. PFA tubing has the best performance for gas-only sampling, while conductive PFA appears very promising for sampling S/IVOCs and particles simultaneously. The observed delays and low transmission both affect the quality of gas quantification, especially when no direct calibration is available. Improvements in sampling and instrument response are needed for fast atmospheric measurements of a wide range of S/IVOCs (e.g., by aircraft or for eddy covariance). These methods and results are also useful for more general characterization of surface–gas interactions.
    Print ISSN: 1867-1381
    Electronic ISSN: 1867-8548
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2016-12-13
    Description: The atmospheric chemistry of isoprene contributes to the production of a substantial mass fraction of the particulate matter (PM) over tropical forests. Isoprene epoxydiols (IEPOX) produced in the gas phase by the oxidation of isoprene under HO2-dominant conditions are subsequently taken up by particles, thereby leading to production of secondary organic PM. The present study investigates possible perturbations to this pathway by urban pollution. The measurement site in central Amazonia was located 4 to 6 hours downwind of Manaus, Brazil. Measurements took place from February through March 2014 of the wet season, as part of the GoAmazon2014/5 experiment. Mass spectra of organic PM collected with an Aerodyne Aerosol Mass Spectrometer were analyzed by positive-matrix factorization. One resolved statistical factor (“IEPOX-SOA factor”) was associated with PM production by the IEPOX pathway. Loadings of this factor correlated with independently measured mass concentrations of tracers of IEPOX-derived PM, namely C5-alkene triols and 2-methyltetrols (R = 0.96 and 0.78, respectively). Factor loading, as well as the ratio of the factor loading to organic PM mass concentration, decreased under polluted compared to background conditions. For the study period, sulfate concentration explained 37 % of the variability in the factor loading. After segregation of the data set by NOy concentration, the sulfate concentration explained up to 75 % of the variability in factor loading within the NOy subsets. The sulfate-detrended IEPOX-SOA factor loading decreased by two- to three-fold for an increase in NOy concentration from 0.5 to 2 ppb. The suppressing effects of elevated NO dominated over the enhancing effects of higher sulfate with respect to the production of IEPOX-derived PM. Relative to background conditions, the Manaus pollution contributed more significantly to NOy than to sulfate. In this light, increased emissions of nitrogen oxides, as anticipated for some scenarios of Amazonian economic development, could significantly alter pathways of PM production that presently prevail over the tropical forest, implying changes to air quality and regional climate.
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7375
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2017-08-30
    Description: Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation from ambient air was studied using an oxidation flow reactor (OFR) coupled to an aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) during both the wet and dry seasons at the Observations and Modeling of the Green Ocean Amazon (GoAmazon2014/5) field campaign. Measurements were made at two sites downwind of the city of Manaus, Brazil. Ambient air was oxidized in the OFR using variable concentrations of either OH or O3, over ranges from hours to days (O3) or weeks (OH) of equivalent atmospheric aging. The amount of SOA formed in the OFR ranged from 0 to as much as 10 μg m−3, depending on the amount of SOA precursor gases in ambient air. Typically, more SOA was formed during nighttime than daytime, and more from OH than from O3 oxidation. SOA yields of individual organic precursors under OFR conditions were measured by standard addition into ambient air, and confirmed to be consistent with published environmental chamber-derived SOA yields. Positive matrix factorization of organic aerosol (OA) after OH oxidation showed formation of typical oxidized OA factors and a loss of primary OA factors as OH aging increased. After OH oxidation in the OFR, the hygroscopicity of the OA increased with increasing elemental O : C up to O : C ~ 1.0, and then decreased as O : C increased further. Possible reasons for this decrease are discussed. The measured SOA formation was compared to the amount predicted from the concentrations of measured ambient SOA precursors and their SOA yields. While measured ambient precursors were sufficient to explain the amount of SOA formed from O3, they could only explain 10–50 % of the SOA formed from OH. This is consistent with previous OFR studies which showed that typically unmeasured semivolatile and intermediate volatility gases (that tend to lack C = C bonds) are present in ambient air and can explain such additional SOA formation. To investigate the sources of the unmeasured SOA-forming gases during this campaign, multilinear regression analysis was performed between measured SOA formation and the concentration of gas-phase tracers representing different precursor sources. The majority of SOA-forming gases present during both seasons were of biogenic origin. Urban sources also contributed substantially in both seasons, while biomass burning sources were more important during the dry season. This study enables a better understanding of SOA formation in environments with diverse emission sources.
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7375
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2018-05-07
    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 0.09–0.9 equivalent days of OH aging from the 2011 BEACHON-RoMBAS and the 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.
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7375
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2018-02-26
    Description: Biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) from the Amazon forest region represent the largest source of organic carbon emissions to the atmosphere globally. These BVOC emissions dominantly consist of volatile and intermediate volatility terpenoid compounds that undergo chemical transformations in the atmosphere to form oxygenated condensable gases and secondary organic aerosol (SOA). We collected quartz filter samples with 12-hour time resolution and performed hourly in-situ measurements with the Semi-Volatile Thermal desorption Aerosol Gas chromatograph (SV-TAG) at a rural site (T3) located to the west of the urban center of Manaus, Brazil as part of the Green Ocean Amazon (GoAmazon2014/5) field campaign to measure intermediate volatility and semi-volatile BVOCs and their oxidation products during the wet and dry seasons. We speciated and quantified 30 sesquiterpenes and four diterpenes with concentrations in the range 0.01–6.04 ng m−3 (1–670 ppqv). We estimate that sesquiterpenes contribute approximately 14 % and 12 % to the total reactive loss of O3 via reaction with isoprene or terpenes during the wet and dry seasons, respectively. This is reduced from ~ 50–70 % for within-canopy reactive O3 loss, attributed to ozonolysis of highly reactive sesquiterpenes (e.g. β-caryophyllene) that are reacted away before reaching our measurement site. We further identify a suite of their oxidation products in the gas and particle phases and explore their role in biogenic SOA formation in the Central Amazon region. Synthesized authentic standards were also used to quantify gas- and particle-phase oxidation products derived from β-caryophyllene. Using tracer-based scaling methods for these products, we roughly estimate that sesquiterpene oxidation contributes at least 1–18 % (median 5 %) of total submicron OA mass. However, this is likely a low-end estimate, as evidence for additional unaccounted sesquiterpenes and their oxidation products clearly exists. By comparing our field data to laboratory-based sesquiterpene oxidation experiments we confirm more than 40 additional observed compounds produced through sesquiterpene oxidation are present in Amazonian SOA, warranting further efforts towards more complete quantification.
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7375
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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