Estimating the importance of multi-phase processing on secondary organic aerosol based on a functional-group resolving volatility basis set approach

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 2:55 PM
Christoph Johannes Knote1, Alma Hodzic1, Bernard Aumont2 and Sasha Madronich1, (1)National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)University Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne, Créteil Cedex, France
Traditional understanding views secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation in the atmosphere as continuous gas-phase oxidation of precursors such as isoprene, aromatics or alkanes. Recent research found that these oxidation products are also highly water soluble. It is further understood that the liquid-phase of cloud droplets as well as deliquesced particles could mediate SOA formation through chemistry in the aqueous-phase. While the effect of multi-phase processing has been studied in detailed for specific compounds like glyoxal or methylglyoxal, an integrated approach that considers the large number of individual compounds has been missing due to the complexity involved. In our work we explore the effects of multi-phase processing on secondary organic aerosol from an explicit modeling perspective.
Volatility and solubility determine in which phase a given molecule will be found under given atmospheric conditions. Volatility has already been used to simplify the description of SOA formation in the gas-phase in what became known as the Volatility Basis Set approach (VBS). Compounds contributing to SOA formation are grouped by volatility and then treated as a whole. A number of studies extended the VBS by adding a second dimension like oxygen to carbon ratio or the mean oxidation state. In our work we use functional groups as second dimension.
Using explicit oxidation chemistry modeling (GECKO-A) we derive SOA yields as well as their composition in terms of functional groups for commonly used precursors. We then investigate the effect of simply partitioning functional-group specific organic mass into cloud droplets and deliquesced aerosol based on their estimated solubility. Finally we apply simple chemistry in the aqueous-phase and relate changes in functional groups to changes in volatility and subsequent changes in partitioning between gas- and aerosol-phase.
In our presentation we will explore the sensitivites of the multi-phase system in a box model setting with realistic environmental conditions. We will present the then-current state of our efforts to include this new concept into a regional-scale chemistry-transport-model (WRF-Chem) to evaluate its impacts under realistic conditions.