Articles | Volume 13, issue 9
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 5017–5031, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-13-5017-2013
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 5017–5031, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-13-5017-2013

Research article 15 May 2013

Research article | 15 May 2013

Modeling organic aerosol from the oxidation of α-pinene in a Potential Aerosol Mass (PAM) chamber

S. Chen1, W. H. Brune1, A. T. Lambe2,3, P. Davidovits2, and T. B. Onasch2,3 S. Chen et al.
  • 1Department of Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA
  • 2Chemistry Department, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA
  • 3Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica, MA, USA

Abstract. A model has been developed to simulate the formation and evolution of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) and was tested against data produced in a Potential Aerosol Mass (PAM) flow reactor and a large environmental chamber. The model framework is based on the two-dimensional volatility basis set approach (2D-VBS), in which SOA oxidation products in the model are distributed on the 2-D space of effective saturation concentration (Ci*) and oxygen-to-carbon ratio (O : C). The modeled organic aerosol mass concentrations (COA) and O : C agree with laboratory measurements within estimated uncertainties. However, while both measured and modeled O : C increase with increasing OH exposure as expected, the increase of modeled O : C is rapid at low OH exposure and then slows as OH exposure increases while the increase of measured O : C is initially slow and then accelerates as OH exposure increases. A global sensitivity analysis indicates that modeled COA values are most sensitive to the assumed values for the number of Ci* bins, the heterogeneous OH reaction rate coefficient, and the yield of first-generation products. Modeled SOA O : C values are most sensitive to the assumed O : C of first-generation oxidation products, the number of Ci* bins, the heterogeneous OH reaction rate coefficient, and the number of O : C bins. All these sensitivities vary as a function of OH exposure. The sensitivity analysis indicates that the 2D-VBS model framework may require modifications to resolve discrepancies between modeled and measured O : C as a function of OH exposure.

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