On the gas-particle partitioning of soluble organic aerosol in two urban atmospheres with contrasting emissions: 2. Gas and particle phase formic acid

Authors

  • Jiumeng Liu,

    1. School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
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  • Xiaolu Zhang,

    1. School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
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  • Eric T. Parker,

    1. School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    2. Now at School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
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  • Patrick R. Veres,

    1. Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
    2. Chemical Sciences Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, Boulder, Colorado, USA
    3. Now at Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
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  • James M. Roberts,

    1. Chemical Sciences Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, Boulder, Colorado, USA
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  • Joost A. de Gouw,

    1. Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
    2. Chemical Sciences Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, Boulder, Colorado, USA
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  • Patrick L. Hayes,

    1. Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
    2. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
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  • Jose L. Jimenez,

    1. Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
    2. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
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  • Jennifer G. Murphy,

    1. Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Raluca A. Ellis,

    1. Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
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  • L. Greg Huey,

    1. School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
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  • Rodney J. Weber

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    • Corresponding author: R. Weber, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA. (rodney.weber@eas.gatech.edu)

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Abstract

[1] Gas and fine particle (PM2.5) phase formic acid concentrations were measured with online instrumentation during separate one-month studies in the summer of 2010 in Los Angeles (LA), CA, and Atlanta, GA. In both urban environments, median gas phase concentrations were on the order of a few ppbv (LA 1.6 ppbv, Atlanta 2.3 ppbv) and median particle phase concentrations were approximately tens of ng/m3 (LA 49 ng/m3, Atlanta 39 ng/m3). LA formic acid gas and particle concentrations had consistent temporal patterns; both peaked in the early afternoon and generally followed the trends in photochemical secondary gases. Atlanta diurnal trends were more irregular, but the mean diurnal profile had similar afternoon peaks in both gas and particle concentrations, suggesting a photochemical source in both cities. LA formic acid particle/gas (p/g) ratios ranged between 0.01 and 12%, with a median of 1.3%. No clear evidence that LA formic acid preferentially partitioned to particle water was observed, except on three overcast periods of suppressed photochemical activity. Application of Henry's Law to predict partitioning during these periods greatly under-predicted particle phase formate concentrations based on bulk aerosol liquid water content (LWC) and pH estimated from thermodynamic models. In contrast to LA, formic acid partitioning in Atlanta appeared to be more consistently associated with elevated relative humidity (i.e., aerosol LWC), although p/g ratios were somewhat lower, ranging from 0.20 to 5.8%, with a median of 0.8%. Differences in formic acid gas absorbing phase preferences between these two cities are consistent with that of bulk water-soluble organic carbon reported in a companion paper.

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