A natural abundance stable isotope tracer experiment to define SO2 oxidation pathways and their fractionation during heterogeneous oxidation

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Neda Amiri and Ann Lise Norman, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
Sulfate aerosols have crucial direct and indirect effects on climate from radiative cooling to modifying clouds by formation of cloud condensation nuclei. Secondary sulfate aerosols are formed by oxidation of SO2 and subsequent nucleation and growth and the characteristics of primary aerosol sulfate can be modified by oxidation of SO2. There are several known oxidation pathways for SO2; gaseous phase OH oxidation and aqueous phase H2O2, O3 and transition metal oxides oxidation. The SO2 oxidation pathway affects the characteristics of the aerosols formed. Stable isotope techniques are useful in determining the oxidation pathway of SO2 due to unique fractionation patterns (Harris et al., 2012). However, there are still gaps in our understanding of the oxidation pathways and fractionations affecting SO2 and secondary sulfate. A tracer experiment to investigate the oxidation of SO2 and fractionation using size segregated aerosols in the presence of different compounds is described. Two high volume samplers situated to measure background sulfate upwind, and the results of a tracer experiment, downwind, is described. After sufficient size segregated aerosol sulfate has been collected, a source of SO2 with known isotopic composition is introduced to the second high volume sampler. Changes in the isotopic composition for size segregated aerosol sulfate in comparison to the first high volume sampler are investigated. The amount of fractionation during heterogeneous oxidation of SO2 on pre-existing aerosols is calculated using the concentrations and known isotopic composition and compared to data from laboratory and field experiments. The experiment is performed downwind of sources of organic compounds such as pine forests, and characterized using co-located canister samples, to determine the effects of SO2 oxidation on secondary aerosol sulfate.