Global-scale combustion sources of organic aerosols: sensitivity to formation and removal mechanisms
Abstract. Organic compounds from combustion sources such as biomass burning and fossil fuel use are major contributors to the global atmospheric load of aerosols. We analyzed the sensitivity of model-predicted global-scale organic aerosols (OA) to parameters that control primary emissions, photochemical aging, and the scavenging efficiency of organic vapors. We used a computationally efficient module for the description of OA composition and evolution in the atmosphere (ORACLE) of the global chemistry–climate model EMAC (ECHAM/MESSy Atmospheric Chemistry). A global dataset of aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) measurements was used to evaluate simulated primary (POA) and secondary (SOA) OA concentrations. Model results are sensitive to the emission rates of intermediate-volatility organic compounds (IVOCs) and POA. Assuming enhanced reactivity of semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and IVOCs with OH substantially improved the model performance for SOA. The use of a hybrid approach for the parameterization of the aging of IVOCs had a small effect on predicted SOA levels. The model performance improved by assuming that freshly emitted organic compounds are relatively hydrophobic and become increasingly hygroscopic due to oxidation.