Articles | Volume 18, issue 21
Research article
02 Nov 2018
Research article |  | 02 Nov 2018

Simulating secondary organic aerosol from anthropogenic and biogenic precursors: comparison to outdoor chamber experiments, effect of oligomerization on SOA formation and reactive uptake of aldehydes

Florian Couvidat, Marta G. Vivanco, and Bertrand Bessagnet

Abstract. New parameterizations for the formation of organic aerosols were developed. These parameterizations cover secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation from biogenic and anthropogenic precursors, NOx dependency, oligomerization and the reactive uptake of pinonaldehyde. These parameterizations were implemented in a box model in which the condensation and/or evaporation of semi-volatile organic compounds was simulated by the Secondary Organic Aerosol Processor (SOAP) model to take the dynamic evolution of concentrations into account.

The parameterizations were tested against several experiments carried out in previous studies in the EUPHORE outdoor chamber. Two datasets of experiments were used: the anthropogenic experiments (in which SOA is formed mainly from a mixture of toluene, 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene and o-xylene) and the biogenic experiments (in which SOA is formed mainly from α-pinene and limonene).

When assuming no wall deposition of organic vapors, satisfactory results (bias lower than 20 %) were obtained for the biogenic experiments and for most of the anthropogenic experiments. However, a decrease of SOA concentrations (up to 30 %) was found when taking wall deposition of organic vapors into account (with the parameters of Zhang et al., 2014). The anthropogenic experiments seem to indicate a complex NOx dependency that could not be reproduced by the model. Oligomerization was found to have a strong effect on SOA composition (oligomers were estimated to account for up to 78 % of the SOA mass) and could therefore have a strong effect on the formation of SOA. The uptake of pinonaldehyde (which is a high-volatility semi-volatile organic compound, SVOC) onto acidic aerosol was found to be too slow to be significant under atmospheric conditions (no significant amount of SOA formed after 3 days of evolution), indicating that the parameterization of Pun and Seigneur (2007) used in some air quality models may lead to an overestimation of SOA concentrations. The uptake of aldehydes could nevertheless be an important SOA formation pathway for less volatile or more reactive aldehydes than pinonaldehyde.

Regarding viscosity, a low effect of viscosity on SOA concentrations was estimated by the model, although a decrease of SVOC evaporation was found when taking it into account, as well as a lower sensitivity of concentrations to changes of temperature during the experiments.

Short summary
Several new parameterizations and mechanisms for SOA formation are developed based on available experimental results. To evaluate the parameterizations, a box model was developed to simulate SOA formation from monoterpenes and aromatics in the environmental chamber EUPHORE. This box model takes oligomerization, nonideality of the aerosol, multiphase partitioning, aging, vapor wall losses and particle-phase diffusion into account. All these phenomena are rarely taken into account together.
Final-revised paper