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Formation Mechanisms for Secondary Organic Aerosol in Ambient Air

By Kleindienst, Tadeusz

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Book Id: WPLBN0000091556
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 0.1 MB
Reproduction Date: 2007
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Title: Formation Mechanisms for Secondary Organic Aerosol in Ambient Air  
Author: Kleindienst, Tadeusz
Language: English
Subject: Ecology, Natural resource issues, Environemtal protection
Collections: Environmental Awareness Library Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: United States Environmental Protection Agency


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Kleindienst, T. (n.d.). Formation Mechanisms for Secondary Organic Aerosol in Ambient Air. Retrieved from

Excerpt: An integrated laboratory and field research program is underway at the NERL to characterize organic carbon in PM. The portion of the organic component under study is referred to as secondary organic aerosol (SOA), which is formed through chemical reactions in the atmosphere. Information from this study will provide critical data needed to improve the treatment of SOA formation in the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model. Model predictions of the current version are limited by our incomplete understanding of the fundamental processes involved. In the laboratory portion, hydrocarbon precursors are irradiated in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) smog chamber in the presence of NO and SO to produce measurable levels of SOA and identifiable organic compounds indicative of the precursors. The identified compounds are then compared to field study samples to ensure that relevant chemical systems are being studied. A wide range of analytical methods and instruments are used to identify the products. Measurements of polar organic compounds, an important component of SOA, have been undertaken for the chamber and field samples by methods developed at the U.S. EPA and the University of Antwerp. This collaboration has been beneficial in clarifying identifications for individual organic compounds. However, in recent field and laboratory measurements, it has been found that, in addition to individual organic compounds, SOA might be comprised of polymeric-type compounds known as oligomers. In collaboration with the California Institute of Technology, samples generated in the U.S. EPA smog chamber have been analyzed for oligomers using state-of-the-art liquid chromatographic and mass spectroscopic instrumentation. Collaborative efforts are underway with the Atmospheric Modeling Division of the NERL to incorporate findings from the field and laboratory measurements to improve the treatment of SOA within CMAQ. The project results should provide the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards with critical data on important regulatory issues, among them (1) contributions of each SOA precursor to the PM concentration, (2) relative contributions of anthropogenic and biogenic hydrocarbons to ambient SOA concentrations, and (3) impacts of SO reductions on SOA formation. Information from this project will improve the treatment of SOA in the CMAQ model used by the U.S. EPA and the states to evaluate control strategies for reducing ambient PM concentrations. These results will support effective regulations and information that improve public health and reduce ecological impacts.

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