skip to main content

Title: Global transformation and fate of SOA: Implications of Low Volatility SOA and Gas-Phase Fragmentation Reactions

Secondary organic aerosols (SOA) are large contributors to fine particle loadings and radiative forcing, but are often represented crudely in global models. We have implemented three new detailed SOA treatments within the Community Atmosphere Model version 5 (CAM5) that allow us to compare the semi-volatile versus non-volatile SOA treatments (based on some of the latest experimental findings) and also investigate the effects of gas-phase fragmentation reactions. For semi-volatile SOA treatments, fragmentation reactions decrease simulated SOA burden from 7.5 Tg to 1.8 Tg. For the non-volatile SOA treatment with fragmentation, the burden is 3.1 Tg. Larger differences between non-volatile and semi-volatile SOA (upto a factor of 5) correspond to continental outflow over the oceans. Compared to a global dataset of surface Aerosol Mass Spectrometer measurements and the US IMPROVE network measurements, the non-volatile SOA with fragmentation treatment (FragNVSOA) agrees best at rural locations. Urban SOA is under-predicted but this may be due to the coarse model resolution. All our three revised treatments show much better agreement with aircraft measurements of organic aerosols (OA) over the N. American Arctic and sub-Arctic in spring and summer, compared to the standard CAM5 formulation. This is due to treating SOA precursor gases from biomass burning,more » and long-range transport of biomass burning OA at elevated levels. The revised model configuration that include fragmentation (both semi-volatile and non-volatile SOA) show much better agreement with MODIS AOD data over regions dominated by biomass burning during the summer, and predict biomass burning as the largest global source of OA followed by biogenic and anthropogenic sources. The non-volatile and semi-volatile configuration predict the direct radiative forcing of SOA as -0.5 W m-2 and -0.26 W m-2 respectively, at top of the atmosphere, which are higher than previously estimated by most models, but in reasonable agreement with a recent constrained modeling study. This study highlights the importance of improving process-level representation of SOA in global models.« less
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
47994; KP1703020
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres), 120(9):4169-4195
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory