Laboratory Studies of Processing of Carbonaceous Aerosols by Atmospheric Oxidants/Hygroscopicity and CCN Activity of Secondary & Processed Primary Organic Aerosols

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The atmosphere is composed of a complex mixture of gases and suspended microscopic aerosol particles. The ability of these particles to take up water (hygroscopicity) and to act as nuclei for cloud droplet formation significantly impacts aerosol light scattering and absorption, and cloud formation, thereby influencing air quality, visibility, and climate in important ways. A substantial, yet poorly characterized component of the atmospheric aerosol is organic matter. Its major sources are direct emissions from combustion processes, which are referred to as primary organic aerosol (POA), or in situ processes in which volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are oxidized in the atmosphere ... continued below

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Ziemann, P.J.; Arey, J.; Atkinson, R.; Kreidenweis, S.M. & Petters, M.D. June 13, 2012.

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Description

The atmosphere is composed of a complex mixture of gases and suspended microscopic aerosol particles. The ability of these particles to take up water (hygroscopicity) and to act as nuclei for cloud droplet formation significantly impacts aerosol light scattering and absorption, and cloud formation, thereby influencing air quality, visibility, and climate in important ways. A substantial, yet poorly characterized component of the atmospheric aerosol is organic matter. Its major sources are direct emissions from combustion processes, which are referred to as primary organic aerosol (POA), or in situ processes in which volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are oxidized in the atmosphere to low volatility reaction products that subsequent condense to form particles that are referred to as secondary organic aerosol (SOA). POA and VOCs are emitted to the atmosphere from both anthropogenic and natural (biogenic) sources. The overall goal of this experimental research project was to conduct laboratory studies under simulated atmospheric conditions to investigate the effects of the chemical composition of organic aerosol particles on their hygroscopicity and cloud condensation nucleation (CCN) activity, in order to develop quantitative relationships that could be used to more accurately incorporate aerosol-cloud interactions into regional and global atmospheric models. More specifically, the project aimed to determine the products, mechanisms, and rates of chemical reactions involved in the processing of organic aerosol particles by atmospheric oxidants and to investigate the relationships between the chemical composition of organic particles (as represented by molecule sizes and the specific functional groups that are present) and the hygroscopicity and CCN activity of oxidized POA and SOA formed from the oxidation of the major classes of anthropogenic and biogenic VOCs that are emitted to the atmosphere, as well as model hydrocarbons. The general approach for this project was to carry out reactions of representative anthropogenic and biogenic VOCs and organic particles with ozone (O3), and hydroxyl (OH), nitrate (NO3), and chlorine (Cl) radicals, which are the major atmospheric oxidants, under simulated atmospheric conditions in large-volume environmental chambers. A combination of on-line and off-line analytical techniques were used to monitor the chemical and physical properties of the particles including their hygroscopicity and CCN activity. The results of the studies were used to (1) improve scientific understanding of the relationships between the chemical composition of organic particles and their hygroscopicity and CCN activity, (2) develop an improved molecular level theoretical framework for describing these relationships, and (3) establish a large database that is being used to develop parameterizations relating organic aerosol chemical properties and SOA sources to particle hygroscopicity and CCN activity for use in regional and global atmospheric air quality and climate models.

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  • Report No.: DOE/ER/63984
  • Grant Number: FG02-05ER63984
  • DOI: 10.2172/1043056 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1043056
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc834587

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  • June 13, 2012

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • June 14, 2016, 9:45 p.m.

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Ziemann, P.J.; Arey, J.; Atkinson, R.; Kreidenweis, S.M. & Petters, M.D. Laboratory Studies of Processing of Carbonaceous Aerosols by Atmospheric Oxidants/Hygroscopicity and CCN Activity of Secondary & Processed Primary Organic Aerosols, report, June 13, 2012; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc834587/: accessed January 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.