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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 30 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 30 Oct 2019

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

Simulation of organic aerosol formation during the CalNex study: updated mobile emissions and simplified secondary organic aerosol parameterization for intermediate volatility organic compounds

Quanyang Lu1,2,3, Benjamin N. Murphy4, Momei Qin3,a, Peter J. Adams1, Yunliang Zhao1,2,b, Havala O. T. Pye4, Christos Efstathiou5, Chris Allen5, and Allen L. Robinson1,2 Quanyang Lu et al.
  • 1Center of Atmospheric Particle Studies, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  • 2Department of Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  • 3Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Research Participant at the Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA
  • 4Office of Research and Development, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA
  • 5General Dynamics Information Technology Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA
  • anow at: Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology
  • bnow at: California Air Resources Board

Abstract. We describe simulations using an updated version of the Community Multiscale Air Quality model version 5.3 (CMAQ v5.3) to investigate the contribution of intermediate volatile organic compounds (IVOCs) to secondary organic aerosol formation (SOA) in Southern California during the CalNex study. We first derive a model-ready parameterization for SOA formation from IVOC emissions from mobile sources. To account for SOA formation from both diesel and gasoline sources, the parameterization has six lumped precursor species that account for differences in both volatility and molecular structure (aromatic versus aliphatic) of unspeciated IVOC emissions. We also implement new mobile source emission profiles that quantify all IVOCs based on direct measurements. The profiles have been released in SPECIATE 5.0. In the Los Angeles region, gasoline sources emit 4 times more non-methane organic gases (NMOG) than diesel sources, but diesel emits roughly 3 times more IVOCs on an absolute basis. When accounting for IVOCs, the model predicts all mobile sources (including on- and off-road gasoline, aircraft and on- and off-road diesel) contribute ~1 μg m−3 of SOA in Pasadena, CA, which corresponds to 12 % of the measured SOA concentrations during CalNex. Adding mobile-source IVOCs increases the predicted SOA concentration by ~ 70 %. Therefore, IVOCs in mobile source emissions contribute almost as much SOA as traditional precursors such as single-ring aromatics. However, addition of these emissions still does not close either the ambient SOA or IVOC mass balance. To explore the potential contribution of other IVOC sources, we perform two exploratory simulations with varying amounts of IVOC emissions from non-mobile sources. To close the mass balance of primary hydrocarbon IVOCs, IVOCs would need to account for 12 % of NMOG emissions from non-mobile sources (or equivalently 30.7 Ton day−1 in Los Angeles-Pasadena region), a value that is well within the reported range of IVOC content from volatile chemical products. To close the SOA mass balance and explain mildly oxygenated IVOCs in Pasadena, an additional 14.8 % of non-mobile source NMOG emissions would need to be IVOCs, but assigning an IVOC-to-NMOG ratio of 26.8 % (or equivalently 68.5 Ton day−1 in Los Angeles-Pasadena region) for non-mobile sources seems unrealistically high. By incorporating the most comprehensive mobile emissions profiles for SVOCs and IVOCs along with experimentally constrained SOA yields from mobile IVOCs, this CMAQ configuration represents the most accurate photochemical model prediction of the contribution of mobile sources to urban and regional ambient OA to date. Our results highlight the important contribution of IVOCs to SOA production in Los Angeles region, but also underscore that other uncertainties must be addressed (multigenerational aging, aqueous chemistry, and vapor wall losses) to close the SOA mass balance. This research also highlights the effectiveness of regulations to reduce mobile source emissions, which have, in turn, increased the relative importance of other sources, such as volatile chemical products.

Quanyang Lu et al.
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Status: open (until 25 Dec 2019)
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Short summary
This research work investigates the organic aerosol formation in California during the CalNex study. We update the chemical transport model with the most recent mobile-source emission data and introduce a simple parameterization for secondary organic aerosol formed from intermediate-volatile organic compounds. This research aims to provide a better understanding of the intermediate-volatile organic compounds emissions and evaluates the effect of additional emissions on the model performance.
This research work investigates the organic aerosol formation in California during the CalNex...