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Modeling the Current and Future Roles of Particulate Organic Nitrates in the Southeastern United States

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posted on 15.12.2015, 00:00 authored by Havala O. T. Pye, Deborah J. Luecken, Lu Xu, Christopher M. Boyd, Nga L. Ng, Kirk R. Baker, Benjamin R. Ayres, Jesse O. Bash, Karsten Baumann, William P. L. Carter, Eric Edgerton, Juliane L. Fry, William T. Hutzell, Donna B. Schwede, Paul B. Shepson
Organic nitrates are an important aerosol constituent in locations where biogenic hydrocarbon emissions mix with anthropogenic NOx sources. While regional and global chemical transport models may include a representation of organic aerosol from monoterpene reactions with nitrate radicals (the primary source of particle-phase organic nitrates in the Southeast United States), secondary organic aerosol (SOA) models can underestimate yields. Furthermore, SOA parametrizations do not explicitly take into account organic nitrate compounds produced in the gas phase. In this work, we developed a coupled gas and aerosol system to describe the formation and subsequent aerosol-phase partitioning of organic nitrates from isoprene and monoterpenes with a focus on the Southeast United States. The concentrations of organic aerosol and gas-phase organic nitrates were improved when particulate organic nitrates were assumed to undergo rapid (τ = 3 h) pseudohydrolysis resulting in nitric acid and nonvolatile secondary organic aerosol. In addition, up to 60% of less oxidized-oxygenated organic aerosol (LO-OOA) could be accounted for via organic nitrate mediated chemistry during the Southern Oxidants and Aerosol Study (SOAS). A 25% reduction in nitrogen oxide (NO + NO2) emissions was predicted to cause a 9% reduction in organic aerosol for June 2013 SOAS conditions at Centreville, Alabama.