Articles | Volume 14, issue 17
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 8961–8981, 2014
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 8961–8981, 2014

Research article 01 Sep 2014

Research article | 01 Sep 2014

Understanding the anthropogenic influence on formation of biogenic secondary organic aerosols in Denmark via analysis of organosulfates and related oxidation products

Q. T. Nguyen1,2, M. K. Christensen1, F. Cozzi1,*, A. Zare1,2,3, A. M. K. Hansen1, K. Kristensen1, T. E. Tulinius1, H. H. Madsen1, J. H. Christensen2, J. Brandt2, A. Massling2, J. K. Nøjgaard2, and M. Glasius1 Q. T. Nguyen et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry and iNANO, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark
  • 2Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
  • 3Institute of Geophysics, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
  • *Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 1871 Frederiksberg C, Denmark

Abstract. Anthropogenic emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) may affect concentration levels and composition of biogenic secondary organic aerosols (BSOA) through photochemical reactions with biogenic organic precursors to form organosulfates and nitrooxy organosulfates. We investigated this influence in a field study from 19 May to 22 June, 2011 at two sampling sites in Denmark. Within the study, we identified a substantial number of organic acids, organosulfates and nitrooxy organosulfates in the ambient urban curbside and semi-rural background air. A high degree of correlation in concentrations was found among a group of specific organic acids, organosulfates and nitrooxy organosulfates, which may originate from various precursors, suggesting a common mechanism or factor affecting their concentration levels at the sites. It was proposed that the formation of those species most likely occurred on a larger spatial scale, with the compounds being long-range transported to the sites on the days with the highest concentrations. The origin of the long-range transported aerosols was investigated using the Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model in addition to modeled emissions of related precursors, including isoprene and monoterpenes using the global Model of Emissions of Gases and Aerosols from Nature (MEGAN) and SO2 emissions using the European Monitoring and Evaluation Program (EMEP) database. The local impacts were also studied by examining the correlation between selected species, which showed significantly enhanced concentrations at the urban curbside site and the local concentrations of various gases, including SO2, ozone (O3), NOx, aerosol acidity and other meteorological conditions. This investigation showed that an inter-play of the local parameters such as the aerosol acidity, NOx, SO2, relative humidity (RH), temperature and global radiation seemed to affect the concentration level of those species, suggesting the influence of aqueous aerosol chemistry. The local impacts, however, seemed minor compared to the regional impacts. The total concentrations of organosulfates and nitrooxy organosulfates, on average, contributed to approximately 0.5–0.8% of PM1 mass at the two sampling sites.

Final-revised paper