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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 22 Oct 2018

Research article | 22 Oct 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Precursors and formation of secondary organic aerosols from wildfires in the Euro-Mediterranean region

Marwa Majdi1,2, Karine Sartelet1, Grazia Maria Lanzafame3, Florian Couvidat3, Youngseob Kim1, Mounir Chrit1, and Solene Turquety2 Marwa Majdi et al.
  • 1CEREA: joint laboratory École des Ponts ParisTech EDF R&D, Université Paris-Est, 77455 Champs sur Marne, France
  • 2Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD)-IPSL, Sorbonne Université, CNRS UMR 8539, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France
  • 3INERIS: Institut National de l’Environnement Industriel et des Risques, Verneuil en Halatte, France

Abstract. This work aims at quantifying the relative contribution of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) precursors emitted by wildfires to organic aerosol (OA) formation, during summer 2007 over the Euro-Mediterranean region, where intense wild-fires occurred. A new SOA formation mechanism, H2Oaro, including recently identified aromatic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from wildfires is developed based on smog chamber experiment measurements, under low and high-NOx regimes. The aromatic VOCs included in the mechanism are toluene, xylene, benzene, phenol, cresol, catechol, furan, naphthalene, methylnaphthalene, syringol, guaiacol and structurally assigned and unassigned compounds with at least 6 carbon atoms per molecule (USC>6). This mechanism H2Oaro is an extension of the H2O (Hydrophilic/Hydrophobic organic) aerosol mechanism: the oxidation of the precursor forms surrogate species with specific thermodynamic properties (volatility, oxidation degree, affinity to water). The SOA concentrations over the Euro-Mediterranean region in summer 2007 are simulated using the chemistry transport model (CTM) Polair3D of the air-quality plateform Polyphemus, where the mechanism H2Oaro was implemented. To estimate the relative contribution of the aromatic VOCs, intermediate, semi and low volatile organic compounds (I/S/L-VOCs) to wildfires OA concentrations, different estimations of the gaseous I/S/L-VOC emissions (from primary organic aerosol (POA) using a factor of 1.5 or from non-methanic organic gas (NMOG) using a factor of 0.36) and their ageing (one-step oxidation vs multi-generational oxidation), are also tested in the CTM.

Most of the particle organic aerosol (OA) concentrations are formed from I/S/L-VOCs. In average during the summer 2007 and over the Euro-Mediterranean domain, they are about 10 times higher than the OA concentrations formed from VOCs. However, locally, the OA concentrations formed from VOCs can represent up to 30% of the OA concentrations from biomass burning. Amongst the VOCs, the main contributors to SOA formation are phenol, benzene and catechol (47%), USC>6 compounds (23%), and toluene and xylene (12%). Sensitivity studies of the influence of the VOCs and the I/S/L-VOCs emissions and chemical ageing mechanisms on PM2.5 concentrations show that surface PM2.5 concentrations are more sensitive to the parameterization used for gaseous I/S/L-VOCs emissions than for ageing. Estimating the gaseous I/S/L-VOCs emissions from POA or from NMOG has a high impact on local surface PM2.5 concentrations (reaching −30% in Balkans, −8 to −16% in the fire plume and +8 to +16% in Greece). Considering the VOC emissions results in a moderate increase of PM2.5 concentrations mainly in Balkans (up to 24%) and in the fire plume (+10%).

Marwa Majdi et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Marwa Majdi et al.
Marwa Majdi et al.
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