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Global modeling of organic aerosol: the importance of reactive nitrogen

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Author(s): H. O. T. Pye | A. W. H. Chan | M. P. Barkley | J. H. Seinfeld

Journal: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions
ISSN 1680-7367

Volume: 10;
Issue: 9;
Start page: 21259;
Date: 2010;
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ABSTRACT
Reactive nitrogen compounds, specifically NOx and NO3, likely influence global organic aerosol levels. To assess these interactions, GEOS-Chem, a chemical transport model, is updated to include improved biogenic emissions (following MEGAN v2.1/2.04), a new organic aerosol tracer lumping scheme, aerosol from nitrate radical (NO3) oxidation of isoprene, and NOx-dependent terpene aerosol yields. As a result of significant nighttime terpene emissions, fast reaction of monoterpenes with the nitrate radical, and relatively high aerosol yields from NO3 oxidation, biogenic hydrocarbon-NO3 reactions are expected to be a major contributor to surface level aerosol concentrations in anthropogenically influenced areas such as the United States. By including aerosol from nitrate radical oxidation in GEOS-Chem, terpene aerosol approximately doubles and isoprene aerosol is enhanced by 30 to 40% in the Southeast United States. In terms of the global budget of organic aerosol, however, aerosol from nitrate radical oxidation is somewhat minor (slightly more than 3 Tg/yr) due to the relatively high volatility of organic-NO3 oxidation products. Globally, 69 to 88 Tg/yr of organic aerosol is predicted to be produced annually, of which 14–15 Tg/yr is from oxidation of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes and 8–9 Tg/yr from isoprene.

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