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Title: Limited effect of anthropogenic nitrogen oxides on Secondary Organic Aerosol formation

Globally, secondary organic aerosol (SOA) is mostly formed from emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by vegetation, but can be modified by human activities as demonstrated in recent research. Specifically, nitrogen oxides (NO x = NO + NO 2) have been shown to play a critical role in the chemical formation of low volatility compounds. We have updated the SOA scheme in the global NCAR Community Atmospheric Model version 4 with chemistry (CAM4-chem) by implementing a 4-product Volatility Basis Set (VBS) scheme, including NO x-dependent SOA yields and aging parameterizations. The predicted organic aerosol amounts capture both the magnitude and distribution of US surface annual mean measurements from the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) network by 50 %, and the simulated vertical profiles are within a factor of two compared to Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS) measurements from 13 aircraft-based field campaigns across different region and seasons. We then perform sensitivity experiments to examine how the SOA loading responds to a 50 % reduction in anthropogenic nitric oxide (NO) emissions in different regions. We find limited SOA reductions of 0.9 to 5.6, 6.4 to 12.0 and 0.9 to 2.8 % for global, the southeast US and the Amazonmore » NO x perturbations, respectively. The fact that SOA formation is almost unaffected by changes in NO x can be largely attributed to buffering in chemical pathways (low- and high-NO x pathways, O 3 versus NO 3-initiated oxidation) and to offsetting tendencies in the biogenic versus anthropogenic SOA responses.« less
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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions (Online)
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Journal Name: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions (Online); Journal Volume: 15; Journal Issue: 16; Journal ID: ISSN 1680-7375
European Geosciences Union
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