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Title: Prediction of cloud condensation nuclei activity for organic compounds using functional group contribution methods

A wealth of recent laboratory and field experiments demonstrate that organic aerosol composition evolves with time in the atmosphere, leading to changes in the influence of the organic fraction to cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) spectra. There is a need for tools that can realistically represent the evolution of CCN activity to better predict indirect effects of organic aerosol on clouds and climate. This work describes a model to predict the CCN activity of organic compounds from functional group composition. Following previous methods in the literature, we test the ability of semi-empirical group contribution methods in Kohler theory to predict the effective hygroscopicity parameter, kappa. However, in our approach we also account for liquid–liquid phase boundaries to simulate phase-limited activation behavior. Model evaluation against a selected database of published laboratory measurements demonstrates that kappa can be predicted within a factor of 2. Simulation of homologous series is used to identify the relative effectiveness of different functional groups in increasing the CCN activity of weakly functionalized organic compounds. Hydroxyl, carboxyl, aldehyde, hydroperoxide, carbonyl, and ether moieties promote CCN activity while methylene and nitrate moieties inhibit CCN activity. Furthermore, the model can be incorporated into scale-bridging test beds such as the Generator ofmore » Explicit Chemistry and Kinetics of Organics in the Atmosphere (GECKO-A) to evaluate the evolution of kappa for a complex mix of organic compounds and to develop suitable parameterizations of CCN evolution for larger-scale models.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC (United States). Dept. of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences
  2. Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO (United States). Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences
  3. Colorado Univ., Boulder, CO (United States). Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0010470; SC0006633
Published Article
Journal Name:
Geoscientific Model Development (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Geoscientific Model Development (Online); Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1991-9603
European Geosciences Union
Research Org:
North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; single-parameter representation; soluble surfactant properties; aerosol-particles; hygroscopic growth; aqueous-solutions; ccn activation; part 2; activity-coefficients; chemical-composition; inorganic aerosols
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1268169