Modeling of gaseous methylamines in the global atmosphere: impacts of oxidation and aerosol uptake
Abstract. Gaseous amines have attracted increasing attention due to their potential role in enhancing particle nucleation and growth and affecting secondary organic aerosol formation. Here we study with a chemistry transport model the global distributions of the most common and abundant amines in the air: monomethylamine (MMA), dimethylamine (DMA), and trimethylamine (TMA). We show that gas phase oxidation and aerosol uptakes are dominant sinks for these methylamines. The oxidation alone (i.e., no aerosol uptake) leads to methylamine lifetimes of 5–10 h in most parts of low and middle latitude regions. The uptake by secondary species with uptake coefficient (γ) of 0.03 (corresponding to the uptake by sulfuric acid particles) reduces the lifetime by ~30% over oceans and much more over the major continents, resulting in a methylamine lifetime of less than 1–2 h over central Europe, eastern Asia, and eastern US. With the estimated global emission flux, from the literature, our simulations indicate that [DMA] in the model surface layer over major continents is generally in the range of 0.1–2 ppt (parts per trillion) when γ = 0.03 and 0.2–10 ppt when γ = 0, and decreases quickly with altitude. [DMA] over oceans is below 0.05 ppt and over polar regions it is below 0.01 ppt. The simulated [MMA] is about a factor of ~2.5 higher while [TMA] is a factor of ~8 higher than [DMA]. The modeled concentrations of methylamines are substantially lower than the limited observed values available, with normalized mean bias ranging from −57 (γ = 0) to −88% (γ = 0.03) for MMA and TMA, and from −78 (γ = 0) to −93% (γ = 0.03) for DMA.