Articles | Volume 9, issue 15
10 Aug 2009
 | 10 Aug 2009

Modeling of secondary organic aerosol yields from laboratory chamber data

M. N. Chan, A. W. H. Chan, P. S. Chhabra, J. D. Surratt, and J. H. Seinfeld

Abstract. Laboratory chamber data serve as the basis for constraining models of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation. Current models fall into three categories: empirical two-product (Odum), product-specific, and volatility basis set. The product-specific and volatility basis set models are applied here to represent laboratory data on the ozonolysis of α-pinene under dry, dark, and low-NOx conditions in the presence of ammonium sulfate seed aerosol. Using five major identified products, the model is fit to the chamber data. From the optimal fitting, SOA oxygen-to-carbon (O/C) and hydrogen-to-carbon (H/C) ratios are modeled. The discrepancy between measured H/C ratios and those based on the oxidation products used in the model fitting suggests the potential importance of particle-phase reactions. Data fitting is also carried out using the volatility basis set, wherein oxidation products are parsed into volatility bins. The product-specific model is most likely hindered by lack of explicit inclusion of particle-phase accretion compounds. While prospects for identification of the majority of SOA products for major volatile organic compounds (VOCs) classes remain promising, for the near future empirical product or volatility basis set models remain the approaches of choice.

Final-revised paper