Secondary Organic Aerosol Produced from Aqueous Reactions of Phenols in Fog Drops and Deliquesced Particles

Friday, 19 December 2014
Jeremy Smith and Cort Anastasio, University of California Davis, Davis, CA, United States
The formation and evolution of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) in atmospheric condensed phases (i.e., aqueous SOA) can proceed rapidly, but relatively little is known of the important aqueous SOA precursors or their reaction pathways. In our work we are studying the aqueous SOA formed from reactions of phenols (phenol, guaiacol, and syringol), benzene-diols (catechol, resorcinol, and hydroquinone), and phenolic carbonyls (e.g., vanillin and syringaldehyde). These species are potentially important aqueous SOA precursors because they are released in large quantities from biomass burning, have high Henry’s Law constants (KH = 103 -109 M-1 atm-1) and are rapidly oxidized.

To evaluate the importance of aqueous reactions of phenols as a source of SOA, we first quantified the kinetics and SOA mass yields for 11 phenols reacting via direct photodegradation, hydroxyl radical (OH), and with an excited organic triplet state (3C*). In the second step, which is the focus of this work, we use these laboratory results in a simple model of fog chemistry using conditions during a previously reported heavy biomass burning event in Bakersfield, CA. Our calculations indicate that under aqueous aerosol conditions (i.e., a liquid water content of 100 μg m-3) the rate of aqueous SOA production (RSOA(aq)) from phenols is similar to the rate in the gas phase. In contrast, under fog/cloud conditions the aqueous RSOA from phenols is 10 times higher than the rate in the gas phase. In both of these cases aqueous RSOA is dominated by the oxidation of phenols by 3C*, followed by direct photodegradation of phenolic carbonyls, and then OH oxidation. Our results suggest that aqueous oxidation of phenols is a significant source of SOA during fog events and also during times when deliquesced aerosols are present.