Characterizing the formation of secondary organic aerosols

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Organic aerosol is an important fraction of the fine particulate matter present in the atmosphere. This organic aerosol comes from a variety of sources; primary organic aerosol emitted directly from combustion process, and secondary aerosol formed in the atmosphere from condensable vapors. This secondary organic aerosol (SOA) can result from both anthropogenic and biogenic sources. In rural areas of the United States, organic aerosols can be a significant part of the aerosol load in the atmosphere. However, the extent to which gas-phase biogenic emissions contribute to this organic load is poorly understood. Such an understanding is crucial to properly apportion ... continued below

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34 pages

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Lunden, Melissa; Black, Douglas & Brown, Nancy February 2004.

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Description

Organic aerosol is an important fraction of the fine particulate matter present in the atmosphere. This organic aerosol comes from a variety of sources; primary organic aerosol emitted directly from combustion process, and secondary aerosol formed in the atmosphere from condensable vapors. This secondary organic aerosol (SOA) can result from both anthropogenic and biogenic sources. In rural areas of the United States, organic aerosols can be a significant part of the aerosol load in the atmosphere. However, the extent to which gas-phase biogenic emissions contribute to this organic load is poorly understood. Such an understanding is crucial to properly apportion the effect of anthropogenic emissions in these rural areas that are sometimes dominated by biogenic sources. To help gain insight on the effect of biogenic emissions on particle concentrations in rural areas, we have been conducting a field measurement program at the University of California Blodgett Forest Research Facility. The field location includes has been used to acquire an extensive suite of measurements resulting in a rich data set, containing a combination of aerosol, organic, and nitrogenous species concentration and meteorological data with a long time record. The field location was established in 1997 by Allen Goldstein, a professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the University of California at Berkeley to study interactions between the biosphere and the atmosphere. The Goldstein group focuses on measurements of concentrations and whole ecosystem biosphere-atmosphere fluxes for volatile organic compounds (VOC's), oxygenated volatile organic compounds (OVOC's), ozone, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and energy. Another important collaborator at the Blodgett field location is Ronald Cohen, a professor in the Chemistry Department at the University of California at Berkeley. At the Blodgett field location, his group his group performs measurements of the concentrations of important gas phase nitrogen compounds. Experiments have been ongoing at the Blodgett field site since the fall of 2000, and have included portions of the summer and fall of 2001, 2002, and 2003. Analysis of both the gas and particle phase data from the year 2000 show that the particle loading at the site correlates with both biogenic precursors emitted in the forest and anthropogenic precursors advected to the site from Sacramento and the Central Valley of California. Thus the particles at the site are affected by biogenic processing of anthropogenic emissions. Size distribution measurements show that the aerosol at the site has a geometric median diameter of approximately 100 nm. On many days, in the early afternoon, growth of nuclei mode particles (<20 nm) is also observed. These growth events tend to occur on days with lower average temperatures, but are observed throughout the summer. Analysis of the size resolved data for these growth events, combined with typical measured terpene emissions, show that the particle mass measured in these nuclei mode particles could come from oxidation products of biogenic emissions, and can serve as a significant route for SOA partitioning into the particle phase. During periods of each year, the effect of emissions for forest fires can be detected at the Blodgett field location. During the summer of 2002 emissions from the Biscuit fire, a large fire located in Southwest Oregon, was detected in the aerosol data. The results show that increases in particle scattering can be directly related to increased black carbon concentration and an appearance of a larger mode in the aerosol size distribution. These results show that emissions from fires can have significant impact on visibility over large distances. The results also reinforce the view that forest fires can be a significant source of black carbon in the atmosphere, which has important climate and visibility. Continuing work with the 2002 data set, particularly the combination of the aerosol and gas phase data, will continue to provide important information on the extent to which biogenic emissions contribute to secondary organic aerosol and may elucidate important interactions between anthropogenic and biogenic sources. The results of these studies, performed in the field, will contribute to the growing effort to produce robust models for particulate formation that are necessary for air quality planning and source apportionment.

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34 pages

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OSTI as DE00821339

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Feb 2004

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  • Report No.: LBNL--54446
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • DOI: 10.2172/821339 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 821339
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc738373

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  • February 2004

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  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • April 4, 2016, 12:25 p.m.

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Lunden, Melissa; Black, Douglas & Brown, Nancy. Characterizing the formation of secondary organic aerosols, report, February 2004; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc738373/: accessed December 12, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.