Secondary organic aerosol formation from fossil fuel sources contribute majority of summertime organic mass at Bakersfield

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Abstract

[1] Secondary organic aerosols (SOA), known to form in the atmosphere from oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by anthropogenic and biogenic sources, are a poorly understood but substantial component of atmospheric particles. In this study, we examined the chemical and physical properties of SOA at Bakersfield, California, a site influenced by anthropogenic and terrestrial biogenic emissions. Factor analysis was applied to the infrared and mass spectra of fine particles to identify sources and atmospheric processing that contributed to the organic mass (OM). We found that OM accounted for 56% of submicron particle mass, with SOA components contributing 80% to 90% of OM from 15 May to 29 June 2010. SOA formed from alkane and aromatic compounds, the two major classes of vehicle-emitted hydrocarbons, accounted for 65% OM (72% SOA). The alkane and aromatic SOA components were associated with 200 nm to 500 nm accumulation mode particles, likely from condensation of daytime photochemical products of VOCs. In contrast, biogenic SOA likely formed from condensation of secondary organic vapors, produced from NO3radical oxidation reactions during nighttime hours, on 400 nm to 700 nm sized primary particles, and accounted for less than 10% OM. Local petroleum operation emissions contributed 13% to the OM, and the moderate O/C (0.2) of this factor suggested it was largely of secondary origin. Approximately 10% of organic aerosols in submicron particles were identified as either vegetative detritus (10%) or cooking activities (7%), from Fourier transform infrared spectroscopic and aerosol mass spectrometry measurements, respectively. While the mass spectra of several linearly independent SOA components were nearly identical and external source markers were needed to separate them, each component had distinct infrared spectrum, likely associated with the source-specific VOCs from which they formed.

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