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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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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 27 Aug 2018

Research article | 27 Aug 2018

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

Towards a satellite – in situ hybrid estimate for organic aerosol abundance

Jin Liao1,2, Thomas F. Hanisco1, Glenn M. Wolfe1,3, Jason St. Clair1,3, Jose L. Jimenez4,5, Pedro Campuzano-Jost4,5, Benjamin A. Nault4,5, Alan Fried6, Eloise A. Marais7, Gonzalo Gonzalez Abad8, Kelly Chance8, Hiren T. Jethva1,2, Thomas B. Ryerson9, Carsten Warneke5,9, and Armin Wisthaler10,11 Jin Liao et al.
  • 1Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamic Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 2Universities Space Research Association, GESTAR, Columbia, MD, USA
  • 3University of Maryland Baltimore County, Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, Baltimore, MD, USA
  • 4Department of Chemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 5Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 6Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 7School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK
  • 8Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  • 9NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), Chemical Sciences Division, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 10Department of Chemistry, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 11Institute for Ion Physics and Applied Physics, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria

Abstract. Organic aerosol (OA) is one of the main components of the global particulate burden and intimately links natural and anthropogenic emissions with air quality and climate. It is challenging to accurately represent OA in global models. Direct quantification of global OA abundance is not possible with current remote sensing technology; however, it may be possible to exploit correlations of OA with remotely observable quantities to infer OA spatiotemporal variability. In particular, formaldehyde (HCHO) and OA share common sources via both primary emissions and secondary production from oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). We examine OA-HCHO correlations using data from summer-time airborne campaigns investigating biogenic (NASA SEAC4RS and DC3), biomass burning (NASA SEAC4RS) and anthropogenic conditions (NOAA CalNex and NASA KORUS-AQ). In situ OA correlates well with HCHO (r = 0.59–0.97) but the slope and intercept of this relationship vary with chemical regime. For biogenic and anthropogenic regions, the OA-vs-HCHO slope is higher in low NOx conditions, where HCHO yields are lower and aerosol yields are likely higher. The OA-vs-HCHO slope of wild fires is more than 9 times higher than that associated with biogenic and anthropogenic sources. An estimate of near-surface OA is derived by combining observed in situ relationships with HCHO column retrievals from NASA’s Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI). We evaluate this OA estimate against OA observations from the US EPA IMPROVE network and simulated OA from the GEOS-Chem global chemical transport model. The OA estimate compares well with IMPROVE data obtained over summer months (e.g. slope = 0.62, r = 0.56 for August 2013), comparable to intensively validated GEOS-Chem performance (e.g. slope = 0.57, r = 0.56) and superior to the correlation with satellite-derived total aerosol extinction (r = 0.41). Improving the detection limit of satellite HCHO and expanding in situ airborne HCHO and OA coverage in future missions will improve the quality and spatiotemporal coverage of this OA estimate, potentially enabling constraints on the global OA distribution.

Jin Liao 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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Jin Liao et al.
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Short summary
Organic aerosol (OA) intimately links natural and anthropogenic emissions with air quality and climate. Direct OA measurements from space are currently not possible. By contrast, formaldehyde (HCHO), which shares common sources with OA, can be observed from space. This paper describes a new method to estimate OA by combining satellite HCHO and in situ OA and HCHO. The OA estimate is validated with ground network. This new method has a potential for obtaining observation-based global OA estimate.
Organic aerosol (OA) intimately links natural and anthropogenic emissions with air quality and...