Simulation of semi-explicit mechanisms of SOA formation from glyoxal in a 3-D model Journal Article uri icon



  • Abstract. New pathways to form secondary organic aerosols (SOA) have been postulated recently. Glyoxal, the smallest dicarbonyl, is one of the proposed precursors. It has both anthropogenic and biogenic sources, and readily partitions into the aqueous-phase of cloud droplets and deliquesced aerosols where it undergoes both reversible and irreversible chemistry. In this work we extend the regional scale chemistry transport model WRF-Chem to include a detailed gas-phase chemistry of glyoxal formation as well as a state-of-the-science module describing its partitioning and reactions in the aqueous-phase of aerosols. A comparison of several proposed mechanisms is performed to quantify the relative importance of different formation pathways and their regional variability. The CARES/CalNex campaigns over California in summer 2010 are used as case studies to evaluate the model against observations. In all simulations the LA basin was found to be the hotspot for SOA formation from glyoxal, which contributes between 1% and 15% of the model SOA depending on the mechanism used. Our results indicate that a mechanism based only on a simple uptake coefficient, as frequently employed in global modeling studies, leads to higher SOA contributions from glyoxal compared to a more detailed description that considers aerosol phase state and chemical composition. In the more detailed simulations, surface uptake is found to be the main contributor to SOA mass compared to a volume process and reversible formation. We find that contribution of the latter is limited by the availability of glyoxal in aerosol water, which is in turn controlled by an increase in the Henry's law constant depending on salt concentrations ("salting-in"). A kinetic limitation in this increase prevents substantial partitioning of glyoxal into aerosol water at high salt concentrations. If this limitation is removed, volume pathways contribute >20% of glyoxal SOA mass, and the total mass formed (5.8% of total SOA in the LA basin) is about a third of the simple uptake coefficient formulation without consideration of aerosol phase state and composition. All these model formulations are based on very limited and recent field or laboratory data and we conclude that the current uncertainty on glyoxal SOA formation spans a factor of 10 in this domain and time period.;

publication date

  • January 1, 2013

Full Author List

  • Knote C; Hodzic A; Jimenez JL; Volkamer R; Orlando JJ; Baidar S; Brioude J; Fast J; Gentner DR; Goldstein AH

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