11 Nov 2020

11 Nov 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal ACP and is expected to appear here in due course.

Anthropogenic Secondary Organic Aerosols Contribute Substantially to Air Pollution Mortality

Benjamin A. Nault1,2,a, Duseong S. Jo1,2, Brian C. McDonald2,3, Pedro Campuzano-Jost1,2, Douglas A. Day1,2, Weiwei Hu1,2,b, Jason C. Schroder1,2,c, James Allan4,5, Donald R. Blake6, Manjula R. Canagaratna7, Hugh Coe5, Matthew M. Coggon2,3, Peter F. DeCarlo8, Glenn S. Diskin9, Rachel Dunmore10, Frank Flocke11, Alan Fried12, Jessica B. Gilman3, Georgios Gkatzelis2,3, Jacqui F. Hamilton10, Thomas F. Hanisco13, Patrick L. Hayes14, Daven K. Henze15, Alma Hodzic11,16, James Hopkins10,17, Min Hu18, L. Greggory Huey19, B. Thomas Jobson20, William C. Kuster3,, Alastair Lewis10,17, Meng Li2,3, Jin Liao13,21, M. Omar Nawaz15, Ilana B. Pollack22, Jeffrey Peischl2,3, Bernhard Rappenglück23, Claire E. Reeves24, Dirk Richter12, James M. Roberts3, Thomas B. Ryerson3, Min Shao25, Jacob M. Sommers14,26, James Walega12, Carsten Warneke2,3, Petter Weibring12, Glenn M. Wolfe13,27, Dominique E. Young5,d, Bin Yuan25, Qiang Zhang28, Joost A. de Gouw1,2, and Jose L. Jimenez1,2 Benjamin A. Nault et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 2Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 3Chemical Sciences Division, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO
  • 4National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  • 5Centre of Atmospheric Science, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  • 6Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA
  • 7Center for Aerosol and Cloud Chemistry, Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica, MA, USA
  • 8Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
  • 9NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, USA
  • 10Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories, Department of Chemistry, University of York, York, UK
  • 11Atmospheric Chemistry Observations and Modeling Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 12Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 13Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamic Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 14Department of Chemistry, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada
  • 15Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 16Laboratoires d’Aréologie, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, UPS, Toulouse, France
  • 17National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Chemistry, University of York, York, UK
  • 18State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, China
  • 19School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  • 20Laboratory for Atmospheric Research, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA
  • 21Universities Space Research Association, GESTAR, Columbia, MD, USA
  • 22Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
  • 23Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science, University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA
  • 24Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  • 25Institute for Environmental and Climate Research, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China
  • 26Air Quality Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 27Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, USA
  • 28Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
  • anow at: Center for Aerosol and Cloud Chemistry, Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica, MA, USA
  • bnow at: State Key Laboratory at Organic Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China
  • cnow at: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver, CO, USA
  • dnow at: Air Quality Research Center, University of California, Davis, CA, USA
  • retired

Abstract. Anthropogenic secondary organic aerosol (ASOA), formed from anthropogenic emissions of organic compounds, constitutes a substantial fraction of the mass of submicron aerosol in populated areas around the world and contributes to poor air quality and premature mortality. However, the precursor sources of ASOA are poorly understood, and there are large uncertainties in the health benefits that might accrue from reducing anthropogenic organic emissions. We show that the production of ASOA in 11 urban areas on three continents is strongly correlated with the anthropogenic reactivity of specific volatile organic compounds. The differences in ASOA production across different cities can be explained by differences in the emissions of aromatics and intermediate- and semi-volatile organic compounds, indicating the importance of controlling these ASOA precursors. With an improved modeling representation of ASOA driven by the observations, we attribute 340,000 PM2.5 premature deaths per year to ASOA, which is over an order of magnitude higher than prior studies. A sensitivity case with a more recently proposed model for attributing mortality to PM2.5 (the Global Exposure Mortality Model) results up to 900,000 deaths. A limitation of this study is the extrapolation from regions with detailed data to others where data is not available. Comprehensive air quality campaigns in the countries in South and Central America, Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East are needed for further progress in this area.

Benjamin A. Nault et al.

Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Benjamin A. Nault et al.

Data sets

KORUS-AQ Data KORUS-AQ Science Team

SEAC4RS Data SEAC4RS Science Team


Benjamin A. Nault et al.


Total article views: 1,232 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
844 384 4 1,232 66 6 29
  • HTML: 844
  • PDF: 384
  • XML: 4
  • Total: 1,232
  • Supplement: 66
  • BibTeX: 6
  • EndNote: 29
Views and downloads (calculated since 11 Nov 2020)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 11 Nov 2020)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 1,289 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 1,279 with geography defined and 10 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1


Latest update: 24 Jul 2021
Short summary
Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) is an important aspect of poor air quality for urban regions around the world, where a large fraction of the population lives. However, there is still large uncertainty in predicting SOA in urban regions. Here, we used data from 11 urban campaigns and show that the variability in SOA production in these regions are predictable and explained by key emissions. These results are used to estimate the premature mortality associated to SOA in urban regions.