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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-264
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-264
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 02 Apr 2019

Research article | 02 Apr 2019

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

Relative importance of gas uptake on aerosol and ground surfaces characterized by equivalent uptake coefficients

Meng Li1, Hang Su2,1, Guo Li1, Nan Ma2, Ulrich Pöschl1, and Yafang Cheng1 Meng Li et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, 55118, Germany
  • 2Center for Air Pollution and Climate Change Research (APCC), Institute for Environmental and Climate Research (ECI), Jinan University, Guangzhou, 511443, China

Abstract. Quantifying the relative importance of gas uptake on the ground and aerosol surfaces helps to determine which processes should be included in atmospheric chemistry models. Gas uptake by aerosols is often characterized by an effective uptake coefficient (γeff), whereas gas uptake on the ground is usually described by a deposition velocity (Vd). For efficient comparison, we introduce an equivalent uptake coefficient (γeqv) at which the uptake flux of aerosols would equal that on the ground surface. If γeff is similar to or larger than γeqv, aerosol uptake is important and should be included in atmospheric models. In this study, we compare uptake fluxes in the planetary boundary layer (PBL) for different reactive trace gases (O3, NO2, SO2, N2O5, HNO3, H2O2), aerosol types (mineral dust, soot, organic aerosol, sea salt aerosol), environments (urban, agricultural land, Amazon forest, water body), seasons, and mixing heights.

For all investigated gases, γeqv ranges from 10−6 ~ 10−4 in polluted urban environments to 10−4 ~ 10−1 under pristine forest conditions. In urban areas, aerosol uptake is relevant for all species (γeff ≥ γeqv) and should be considered in models. On the contrary, contributions of aerosol uptakes in Amazon forest are minor compared to the dry deposition. Phase state of aerosols could be one of the crucial factors influencing the uptake rates. Current models tend to underestimate the O3 uptake on liquid organic aerosols which can be important especially over regions with γeff ≥ γeqv. H2O2 uptakes on a variety of aerosols is yet to be measured at laboratory and evaluated.

Given the fact that most models have considered their uptakes on the ground surface, we suggest also considering the N2O5 uptake by all types of aerosols, HNO3 and H2O2 uptakes by mineral dust, O3 uptake by liquid organic aerosols and NO2, SO2, HNO3 uptakes by sea salt aerosols in atmospheric models.

Meng Li et al.
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Short summary
Aerosols and ground provide two kinds of surfaces for multiphase reactions in the planetary boundary layer. However, the relative importance of these two surfaces for gas uptake is not quantified. We compare the uptake fluxes of aerosols and the ground surface for reactive trace gases under various conditions. More studies regarding O3 uptake on liquid organic aerosols and H2O2 uptakes on various aerosols are needed considering their potential important roles in atmospheric chemistry.
Aerosols and ground provide two kinds of surfaces for multiphase reactions in the planetary...
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