Articles | Volume 15, issue 7
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 3773–3783, 2015
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 3773–3783, 2015

Research article 08 Apr 2015

Research article | 08 Apr 2015

Atmospheric oxidation of isoprene and 1,3-butadiene: influence of aerosol acidity and relative humidity on secondary organic aerosol

M. Lewandowski1, M. Jaoui2, J. H. Offenberg1, J. D. Krug1, and T. E. Kleindienst1 M. Lewandowski et al.
  • 1US Environmental Protection Agency, National Exposure Research Laboratory, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711, USA
  • 2Alion Science and Technology, Inc., PO Box 12313, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA

Abstract. The effects of acidic seed aerosols on the formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) have been examined in a number of previous studies, several of which have observed strong linear correlations between the aerosol acidity (measured as nmol H+ m−3 air sample volume) and the percent change in secondary organic carbon (SOC). The measurements have used several precursor compounds representative of different classes of biogenic hydrocarbons including isoprene, monoterpenes, and sesquiterpenes. To date, isoprene has displayed the most pronounced increase in SOC, although few measurements have been conducted with anthropogenic hydrocarbons. In the present study, we examine several aspects of the effect of aerosol acidity on the secondary organic carbon formation from the photooxidation of 1,3-butadiene, and extend the previous analysis of isoprene. The photooxidation products measured in the absence and presence of acidic sulfate aerosols were generated either through photochemical oxidation of SO2 or by nebulizing mixtures of ammonium sulfate and sulfuric acid into a 14.5 m3 smog chamber system. The results showed that, like isoprene and β-caryophyllene, 1,3-butadiene SOC yields linearly correlate with increasing acidic sulfate aerosol. The observed acid sensitivity of 0.11% SOC increase per nmol m−3 increase in H+ was approximately a factor of 3 less than that measured for isoprene. The results also showed that the aerosol yield decreased with increasing humidity for both isoprene and 1,3-butadiene, although to different degrees. Increasing the absolute humidity from 2 to 12 g m−3 reduced the 1,3-butadiene yield by 45% and the isoprene yield by 85%.

Short summary
This work explores the impact of acidic sulfate aerosol on the formation of SOA from isoprene and 1,3-butadiene. This study expands on previous work by extending the analysis over a broader range of humidities and aerosol liquid water contents. Extending the experiments to a wider range of hydrocarbons and across a more realistic range of humidities provides data of greater atmospheric relevance and contributes to development of acidity-influenced SOA chemistry mechanisms in air quality models.
Final-revised paper