Articles | Volume 21, issue 19
ACP Letters
 | Highlight paper
15 Oct 2021
ACP Letters | Highlight paper |  | 15 Oct 2021

How alkaline compounds control atmospheric aerosol particle acidity

Vlassis A. Karydis, Alexandra P. Tsimpidi, Andrea Pozzer, and Jos Lelieveld

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Cited articles

Abdelkader, M., Metzger, S., Mamouri, R. E., Astitha, M., Barrie, L., Levin, Z., and Lelieveld, J.: Dust-air pollution dynamics over the eastern Mediterranean, Atmos.Chem. Phys., 15, 9173–9189,, 2015. 
Akagi, S. K., Yokelson, R. J., Wiedinmyer, C., Alvarado, M. J., Reid, J. S., Karl, T., Crounse, J. D., and Wennberg, P. O.: Emission factors for open and domestic biomass burning for use in atmospheric models, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 4039–4072,, 2011. 
Andreae, M. O., Talbot, R. W., Andreae, T. W., and Harriss, R. C.: Formic and acetic-acid over the central Amazon region, Brazil. 1. dry season, J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 93, 1616–1624,, 1988. 
Ansari, A. S. and Pandis, S. N.: The effect of metastable equilibrium states on the partitioning of nitrate between the gas and aerosol phases, Atmos. Environ., 34, 157–168,, 2000. 
Bacer, S., Sullivan, S. C., Karydis, V. A., Barahona, D., Kramer, M., Nenes, A., Tost, H., Tsimpidi, A. P., Lelieveld, J., and Pozzer, A.: Implementation of a comprehensive ice crystal formation parameterization for cirrus and mixed-phase clouds in the EMAC model (based on MESSy 2.53), Geosci. Model Dev., 11, 4021–4041,, 2018. 
Short summary
Aerosol particle pH is well-buffered by alkaline compounds, notably NH3 and crustal elements. NH3 is found to supply remarkable buffering capacity on a global scale, from the polluted continents to the remote oceans. Potential future changes in agricultural NH3 must be accompanied by strong reductions of SO2 and NOx to avoid particles becoming highly acidic, with implications for human health (aerosol toxicity), ecosystems (acid deposition), clouds, and climate (aerosol hygroscopicity).
Final-revised paper