Articles | Volume 9, issue 7
09 Apr 2009
 | 09 Apr 2009

Impact of primary formaldehyde on air pollution in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area

W. Lei, M. Zavala, B. de Foy, R. Volkamer, M. J. Molina, and L. T. Molina

Abstract. Formaldehyde (HCHO) is a radical source that plays an important role in urban atmospheric chemistry and ozone formation. The Mexico City Metropolitan Area (MCMA) is characterized by high anthropogenic emissions of HCHO (primary HCHO), which together with photochemical production of HCHO from hydrocarbon oxidation (secondary HCHO), lead to high ambient HCHO levels. The CAMx chemical transport model was employed to evaluate the impact of primary HCHO on its ambient concentration, on the ROx radical budget, and on ozone (O3) formation in the MCMA. Important radical sources, including HCHO, HONO, and O3-olefin reactions, were constrained by measurements from routine observations of the local ambient air monitoring network and the MCMA-2003 field campaign. Primary HCHO was found not only to contribute significantly to the ambient HCHO concentration, but also to enhance the radical budget and O3 production in the urban atmosphere of the MCMA. Overall in the urban area, total daytime radical production is enhanced by up to 10% and peak O3 concentration by up to 8%; moreover primary HCHO tends to make O3 both production rates and ambient concentration peak half an hour earlier. While primary HCHO contributes predominantly to the ambient HCHO concentration between nighttime and morning rush hours, significant influence on the radical budget and O3 production starts early in the morning, peaks at mid-morning and is sustained until early afternoon.

Final-revised paper