18 Feb 2021

18 Feb 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Contrasting effects of secondary organic aerosol formations on organic aerosol hygroscopicity

Ye Kuang1,2, Shan Huang1,2, Biao Xue1,2, Biao Luo1,2, Qicong Song1,2, Wei Chen3, Weiwei Hu3, Wei Li1,2, Pusheng Zhao4, Mingfu Cai1,2, Yuwen Peng1,2, Jipeng Qi1,2, Tiange Li1,2, Duohong Chen5, Dingli Yue5, Bin Yuan1,2, and Min Shao1,2 Ye Kuang et al.
  • 1Institute for Environmental and Climate Research, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China
  • 2Guangdong-Hongkong-Macau Joint Laboratory of Collaborative Innovation for Environmental Quality, Guangzhou, China
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry and Guangdong Key Laboratory of Environmental Protection and Resources Utilization, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China
  • 4Institute of Urban Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100089, China
  • 5Guangdong Ecological and Environmental Monitoring Center, State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Regional Air Quality Monitoring, Guangzhou 510308, China

Abstract. Water uptake abilities of organic aerosol under sub-saturated conditions play critical roles in direct aerosol radiative effects and atmospheric chemistry, however, field characterizations of organic aerosol hygroscopicity parameter κOA under sub-saturated conditions remain limited. In this study, a field campaign was conducted to characterize κOA at relative humidity of 80 % with hourly time resolution for the first time in the Pearl River Delta region of China. Observation results show that during this campaign secondary organic aerosol (SOA) dominated total organic aerosol mass (mass fraction >70 % on average), which provides us a unique opportunity to investigate influences of SOA formation on κOA. Results demonstrate that the commonly used organic aerosol oxidation level parameter O / C was weakly correlated with κOA and failed in describing the variations of κOA. However, the variations in κOA were well reproduced by mass fractions of organic aerosol factor resolved based on aerosol mass spectrometer measurements. The more oxygenated organic aerosol (MOOA) factor, exhibiting the highest average O / C (~1) among all organic aerosol factors, was the most important factor driving the increase of κOA and was commonly associated with regional air masses. The less oxygenated organic aerosol (LOOA, average O / C of 0.72) factor, revealed strong daytime production, exerting negative effects on κOA. Surprisingly, the aged biomass burning organic aerosol (aBBOA) factor also formed quickly during daytime and shared a similar diurnal pattern with LOOA, but had much lower O / C (0.39) and had positive effects on κOA. The correlation coefficient between κOA and mass fractions of aBBOA and MOOA in total organic aerosol mass reached above 0.8. The contrasting effects of LOOA and aBBOA formation on κOA demonstrates that volatile organic compound (VOC) precursors from diverse sources and different SOA formation processes may result in SOA with different chemical composition, functional properties as well as microphysical structure, consequently, exert distinct influences on κOA and render single oxidation level parameters (such as O / C) unable to capture those differences. Aside from that, distinct effects of aBBOA on κOA was observed during different episodes, suggesting that the hygroscopicity of SOA associated with similar sources might also differ much under different emission and atmospheric conditions. Overall, these results highlight that it is imperative to conduct more researches on κOA characterization under different meteorological and source conditions, and examine its relationship with VOC precursor profiles and formation pathways to formulate a better characterization and develop more appropriate parameterization approaches in chemical and climate models.

Ye Kuang et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-3', Anonymous Referee #2, 15 Mar 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-3', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Mar 2021

Ye Kuang et al.


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Short summary
We found that organic aerosol factors with identified sources perform much better than oxidation level parameters in characterizing variations in organic aerosol hygroscopicity, and secondary aerosol formations associated with different sources have distinct effects on organic aerosol hygroscopicity. It reveals that source-oriented organic aerosol hygroscopicity investigations might come up to more appropriate parameterization approaches in chemical and climate models.