24 May 2022
24 May 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Modeling Diurnal Variation of SOA Formation via Multiphase Reactions of Biogenic Hydrocarbons

Sanghee Han and Myoseon Jang Sanghee Han and Myoseon Jang
  • Department of Environmental Engineering Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Abstract. The daytime oxidation of biogenic hydrocarbons is attributed to both OH radicals and O3, while nighttime chemistry is dominated by the reaction with O3 and NO3 radicals. Here, the diurnal pattern of Secondary Organic Aerosol (SOA) originating from biogenic hydrocarbons was intensively evaluated under varying environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, sunlight intensity, NOx levels, and seed conditions) by using the UNIfied Partitioning Aerosol phase Reaction (UNIPAR) model, which comprises multiphase gas-particle partitioning and in-particle chemistry. The oxidized products of three different hydrocarbons (isoprene, α-pinene, and β-caryophyllene) were predicted by using near explicit gas mechanisms for four different oxidation paths (OH, O3, NO3, and O(3P)) during day and night. The gas mechanisms implemented the Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM v3.3.1), the reactions that formed low volatility products via peroxy radical (RO2) autoxidation, and self- and cross-reactions of nitrate-origin RO2. In the model, oxygenated products were then classified into volatility-reactivity base lumping species, which were dynamically constructed under varying NOx levels and aging scales. To increase feasibility, the UNIPAR model that equipped mathematical equations for stoichiometric coefficients and physicochemical parameters of lumping species was integrated with the SAPRC gas mechanism. The predictability of the UNIPAR model was demonstrated by simulating chamber-generated SOA data under varying environments day and night. Overall, the SOA simulation decoupled to each oxidation path indicated that the nighttime isoprene SOA formation was dominated by the NO3-driven oxidation, regardless of NOx levels. However, the oxidation path to produce the nighttime α-pinene SOA gradually transited from the NO3-initiated reaction to ozonolysis as NOx levels decreased. For daytime SOA formation, both isoprene and α-pinene were dominated by the OH-radical initiated oxidation. The contribution of the O(3P) path to all biogenic SOA formation was negligible in daytime. Sunlight during daytime promotes the decomposition of oxidized products via photolysis and thus, reduces SOA yields. Nighttime α-pinene SOA yields were significantly higher than daytime SOA yields, although the nighttime α-pinene SOA yields gradually decreased with decreasing NOx levels. For isoprene, nighttime chemistry yielded higher SOA mass than daytime at the higher NOx level (isoprene/NOx > 5 ppbC/ppb). The daytime isoprene oxidation at the low NOx level formed epoxy-diols that significantly contributed SOA formation via heterogeneous chemistry. For isoprene and α-pinene, daytime SOA yields gradually increased with decreasing NOx levels. The daytime SOA produced more highly oxidized multifunctional products and thus, it was generally more sensitive to the aqueous reactions than the nighttime SOA. β-Caryophyllene, which rapidly oxidized and produced SOA with high yields, showed a relatively small variation in SOA yields from changes in environmental conditions (i.e., NOx levels, seed conditions, and diurnal pattern), and its SOA formation was mainly attributed to ozonolysis day and night. To mimic the nighttime α-pinene SOA formation under the polluted urban atmosphere, α-pinene SOA formation was simulated in the presence of gasoline fuel. The simulation suggested the growth of α-pinene SOA in the presence of gasoline fuel gas by the enhancement of the ozonolysis path under the excess amount of ozone, which is typical in urban air. We concluded that the oxidation of the biogenic hydrocarbon with O3 or NO3 radicals is a source to produce a sizable amount of nocturnal SOA, despite of the low emission at night.

Sanghee Han and Myoseon Jang

Status: open (until 25 Jul 2022)

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Sanghee Han and Myoseon Jang

Sanghee Han and Myoseon Jang


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Short summary
The diurnal pattern in biogenic SOA formation is simulated by using the UNIPAR model, which predicts SOA growth via multiphase reactions of hydrocarbons under varying NOx levels, aerosol acidity, humidity, and temperature. The simulation suggests that nighttime SOA formation, even in the urban environments where anthropogenic emission is high, is dominated by products from ozonolysis and NO3-initiated oxidation of biogenic hydrocarbons.