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Keywords:

  • SOA;
  • WSOC;
  • organic

[1] Aircraft-based measurements of the water-soluble fraction of fine PM organic carbon (WSOC) and inorganic salt composition in the Atlanta, GA region were conducted in the summer of 2004. Five notable plumes of SO2, apparently from coal-fired power plants, were intercepted, and had NH4+/SO42− molar ratios ranging from approximately 0.8 to 1.4 compared to molar ratios near 2 outside of the plumes. Sulfate aerosol concentrations increased from a regional background of 5–8 μg m−3 to as high as 19.5 μg m−3 within these plumes. No increase in WSOC concentrations was observed in plumes compared to out-of-plumes within a WSOC measurement uncertainty of 8%. These measurements suggest that secondary organic aerosol formation via heterogeneous acid-catalyzed reactions within power plant plumes are not likely a significant contributor to the ambient aerosol mass loading in Atlanta and the surrounding region. Because this region is rich in both biogenic and anthropogenic volatile organic carbon (VOC), the results may be widely applicable.