Secondary organic aerosol formation from anthropogenic air pollution: Rapid and higher than expected
Article first published online: 12 SEP 2006
Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 33, Issue 17, September 2006
How to Cite
2006), Secondary organic aerosol formation from anthropogenic air pollution: Rapid and higher than expected, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L17811, doi:10.1029/2006GL026899., , , , , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 12 SEP 2006
- Article first published online: 12 SEP 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 24 JUL 2006
- Manuscript Revised: 14 JUL 2006
- Manuscript Received: 15 MAY 2006
 The atmospheric chemistry of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in urban areas results in the formation of ‘photochemical smog’, including secondary organic aerosol (SOA). State-of-the-art SOA models parameterize the results of simulation chamber experiments that bracket the conditions found in the polluted urban atmosphere. Here we show that in the real urban atmosphere reactive anthropogenic VOCs (AVOCs) produce much larger amounts of SOA than these models predict, even shortly after sunrise. Contrary to current belief, a significant fraction of the excess SOA is formed from first-generation AVOC oxidation products. Global models deem AVOCs a very minor contributor to SOA compared to biogenic VOCs (BVOCs). If our results are extrapolated to other urban areas, AVOCs could be responsible for additional 3–25 Tg yr−1 SOA production globally, and cause up to −0.1 W m−2 additional top-of-the-atmosphere radiative cooling.