Geophysical Research Letters

On the flux of oxygenated volatile organic compounds from organic aerosol oxidation

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Abstract

[1] Previous laboratory and field studies suggest that oxidation of organic aerosols can be a source of oxygenated volatile organic compounds (OVOC). Using measurements of atmospheric oxidants and aerosol size distributions performed on the NASA DC-8 during the INTEX-NA campaign, we estimate the potential magnitude of the continental summertime OVOC flux from organic aerosol oxidation by OH to be as large as ∼70 pptv C/day in the free troposphere. Contributions from O3, H2O2, photolysis, and other oxidants may increase this estimate. These processes may provide a large, diffuse source of OVOC that has not been included in current atmospheric models, and thus have a significant impact on our understanding of organic aerosol, OVOC, PAN, and HOx chemistry. The potential importance and highly uncertain nature of our estimate highlights the need for more field and laboratory studies on organic aerosol composition and aging.

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