Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 8625-8664, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Aerosol effects on the photochemistry in Mexico City during MCMA-2006/MILAGRO campaign
G. Li1,2, N. Bei1, X. Tie3, and L. T. Molina1,2
1Molina Center for Energy and the Environment, La Jolla, CA, USA
2Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
3National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA

Abstract. In the present study, the impact of aerosols on the photochemistry in Mexico City is evaluated using the WRF-CHEM model for the period from 24 to 29 March during the MCMA-2006/MILAGRO campaign. An aerosol radiative module has been developed with detailed consideration of aerosol size, composition, and mixture. The module has been coupled into the WRF-CHEM model to calculate the aerosol optical properties, including optical depth, single scattering albedo, and asymmetry factor. Calculated aerosol optical properties are in good agreement with the surface observations and aircraft and satellite measurements during daytime. In general, the photolysis rates are reduced due to the absorption by carbonaceous aerosols, particularly in the early morning and late afternoon with a long aerosol optical path. However, with the growth of aerosol particles and the decrease of the solar zenith angle around noontime, aerosols can slightly enhance photolysis rates when ultraviolet (UV) radiation scattering dominates UV absorption by aerosols. The changes in photolysis rates due to aerosols lead to about 2–17% surface ozone reduction during daytime in the urban area in Mexico City, resulting in a decrease of OH level by about 9%, as well as a decrease in the daytime concentrations of nitrate and secondary organic aerosols by 5–6% on average. In addition, the rapid aging of black carbon aerosols and the enhanced absorption of UV radiation by organic aerosols contribute substantially to the reduction of photolysis rates, resulting in a further decrease of other chemical species.

Citation: Li, G., Bei, N., Tie, X., and Molina, L. T.: Aerosol effects on the photochemistry in Mexico City during MCMA-2006/MILAGRO campaign, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 8625-8664, doi:10.5194/acpd-11-8625-2011, 2011.
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