Global mechanistic model of SOA formation: effects of different chemical mechanisms
1Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
2Department of Atmospheric Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
3The Cyprus Institute, Nicosia, Cyprus
Abstract. Recent experimental findings indicate that Secondary Organic Aerosol (SOA) represents an important and, under many circumstances, the major fraction of the organic aerosol burden. Here, we use a global 3-d model (IMPACT) to test the results of different mechanisms for the production of SOA. The basic mechanism includes SOA formation from organic nitrates and peroxides produced from an explicit chemical formulation, using partition coefficients based on thermodynamic principles. We also include the formation of non-evaporative SOA from the reaction of glyoxal and methylglyoxal on aqueous aerosols and cloud droplets as well as from the reaction of epoxides on aqueous aerosols. A model simulation including these SOA formation mechanisms gives an annual global SOA production of 113.5 Tg. The global production of SOA is substantially decreased to 85.0 Tg yr−1 if the HOx regeneration mechanism proposed by Peeters et al. (2009) is used. Model predictions with and without this HOx regeneration scheme are compared with multiple surface observation datasets, namely: the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) for the United States, the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP) as well as Aerosol Mass Spectrometry (AMS) data measured in both Northern Hemisphere and tropical forest regions. All model simulations realistically predict the organic carbon mass observed in the Northern Hemisphere, although they tend to overestimate the concentrations in tropical forest regions. This overestimate may result from an unrealistically high uptake rate of glyoxal and methylglyoxal on aqueous aerosols and in cloud drops. The modeled OC in the free troposphere is in agreement with measurements in the ITCT-2K4 aircraft campaign over the North America and in pollution layers in Asia during the INTEX-B campaign, although the model underestimates OC in the free troposphere during the ACE-Asia campaign off the coast of Japan.