Articles | Volume 11, issue 24
Research article
21 Dec 2011
Research article |  | 21 Dec 2011

The sensitivity of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) component partitioning to the predictions of component properties – Part 3: Investigation of condensed compounds generated by a near-explicit model of VOC oxidation

M. H. Barley, D. Topping, D. Lowe, S. Utembe, and G. McFiggans

Abstract. Calculations of the absorptive partitioning of secondary organic aerosol components were carried out using a number of methods to estimate vapour pressure and non-ideality. The sensitivity of predicted condensed component masses, volatility, O:C ratio, molar mass and functionality distribution to the choice of estimation methods was investigated in mixtures of around 2700 compounds generated by a near explicit mechanism of atmospheric VOC degradation. The sensitivities in terms of all metrics were comparable to those previously reported (using 10 000 semi-randomly generated compounds). In addition, the change in predicted aerosol properties and composition with changing VOC emission scenario was investigated showing key dependencies on relative anthropogenic and biogenic contributions. Finally, the contribution of non-ideality to the changing distribution of condensed components was explored in terms of the shift in effective volatility by virtue of component activity coefficients, clearly demonstrating both enhancement and reduction of component masses associated with negative and positive deviations from ideality.

Final-revised paper