HCHO and CHOCHO are important trace gases in the atmosphere, serving as tracers of VOC oxidations. In the past decade, high concentrations of HCHO and CHOCHO have been observed for the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region in southern China. In this study, we performed box model simulations of HCHO and CHOCHO at a semi-rural site in the PRD, focusing on understanding their sources and sinks and factors influencing the CHOCHO to HCHO ratio (R-GF). The model was constrained by the simultaneous measurements of trace gases and radicals. Isoprene oxidation by OH radicals is the major pathway forming HCHO, followed by degradations of alkenes, aromatics, and alkanes. The production of CHOCHO is dominated by isoprene and aromatic degradation; contributions from other NMHCs are of minor importance. Compared to the measurement results, the model predicts significant higher HCHO and CHOCHO concentrations. Sensitivity studies suggest that fresh emissions of precursor VOCs, uptake of HCHO and CHOCHO by aerosols, fast vertical transport, and uncertainties in the treatment of dry deposition all have the potential to contribute significantly to this discrepancy. Our study indicates that, in addition to chemical considerations (i.e., VOC composition, OH and NOx levels), atmospheric physical processes (e.g., transport, dilution, deposition) make it difficult to use the CHOCHO to HCHO ratio as an indicator for the origin of air mass composition.
Field campaigns monitoring the aerosol optical properties and chemical components of PM10 were carried out in Beijing in 2006 summer. The average light extinction coefficient b(ext), dry aerosol scattering coefficient b(sp) and aerosol absorption coefficient b(ap) were 895.0 +/- 820.8 Mm(-1), 364.0 +/- 324.3 Mm(-1) and 57.8 +/- 31.1 Mm(-1), respectively. b(ext), b(sp) and b(ap) had the similar increasing trend during the formation process of haze. Pronounced diurnal cycles were observed for omega(550) (aerosol single scattering albedo at 550 nm), b(sp), b(ap) and b(ext). The dry b(sp) was elevated during the daytime with a maximum mean value of 475.8 Mm(-1) (LST 06:00). b(ext), PM2.5 mass concentration and PM2.5/PM10 ratio increased at night due to continuous emissions of pollutants to the lower nocturnal boundary layer, and decreased during the daytime due to convective mixing. b(ap) increased at night, and decreased during the daytime and reached the minimum (37 Mm(-1)) at LST 16:00. The single scattering albedo reached its maximum (0.87) at LST 11:00. This trend was consistent with the SNA (sulfate, nitrate, and ammonium)/PM10 ratio and was contrary to the BC (black carbon)/PM10 ratio, which demonstrated that secondary pollution largely influenced the scattering ability of aerosols. Ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, organic mass, elemental carbon and coarse mass contributed 26.5%, 15.2%, 21.8%, 16.1% and 20.4% to the total extinction coefficient during clean days, and 44.6%, 22.3%, 13.6%, 10.8% and 8.7% during hazy days. The fractional contributions of ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate were significantly higher during the hazy time than those during the clean days. While the fractional contributions of organic mass, elemental carbon and coarse mass were lower during the haze time than those during the clean days.
With rapid economic development and the acceleration of urbanization, air pollution has become a serious problem in the mega-city Guangzhou, China. A field campaign to sample and analyze particulate matter (PM) chemical components was performed from July 6, 2006 to July 26, 2006, in Guangzhou. During the campaign, the average mass concentration of PM10 was 89.0 +/- 46.6 mu g m(-3) (the error represents one standard deviation). The PM10, sulfate, nitrate, ammonium, organic carbon (OC), and elemental carbon (EC) mass frequency distributions were analyzed. The [NO3-]/[SO42-] mass ratio varied from 0.1 to 03, with an average of 0.2. A Pearson correlation analysis between [SO42-] and [NH4+] and between [NO3-] and [Na+] showed that SO42- existed as (NH4)(2)SO4 and NO3- existed as NH4NO3 and NaNO3. Sulfate, nitrate, ammonium, EC and POM (particulate organic matter) accounted for 24.4%, 4.9%, 5.7%, 5.7% and 21.0%, respectively, of the PM10 mass concentration during clean days and 25.7%, 3.9%, 7.9%, 5.4% and 20.8%, respectively, on hazy days. Among these species, SNA (sulfate, nitrate, and ammonium) were the most abundant, accounting for 35.0% and 37.5% of the PM10 during clean and hazy days, respectively. The sum of POM and EC accounted for 26.7% and 26.2% of PM10 in Guangzhou during clean and hazy days, respectively. There was no apparent difference in the chemical composition of PM10 between clean and haze days. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Hydroxyl radicals (OH) are the most important reagent for the oxidation of trace gases in the atmosphere. OH concentrations measured during recent field campaigns in isoprene-rich environments were unexpectedly large. A number of studies showed that unimolecular reactions of organic peroxy radicals (RO2) formed in the initial reaction step of isoprene with OH play an important role for the OH budget in the atmosphere at low mixing ratios of nitrogen monoxide (NO) of less than 100 pptv. It has also been suggested that similar reactions potentially play an important role for RO2 from other compounds. Here, we investigate the oxidation of methacrolein (MACR), one major oxidation product of isoprene, by OH in experiments in the simulation chamber SAPHIR under controlled atmospheric conditions. The experiments show that measured OH concentrations are approximately 50% larger than calculated by the Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM) for conditions of the experiments (NO mixing ratio of 90 pptv). The analysis of the OH budget reveals an OH source that is not accounted for in MCM, which is correlated with the production rate of RO2 radicals from MACR. In order to balance the measured OH destruction rate, 0.77 OH radicals (1 sigma error: +/- 0.31) need to be additionally reformed from each reaction of OH with MACR. The strong correlation of the missing OH source with the production of RO2 radicals is consistent with the concept of OH formation from unimolecular isomerization and decomposition reactions of RO2. The comparison of observations with model calculations gives a lower limit of 0.03 s(-1) for the reaction rate constant if the OH source is at-tributed to an isomerization reaction of MACR-1-OH-2-OO and MACR-2-OH-2-OO formed in the MACR + OH reaction as suggested in the literature (Crounse et al., 2012). This fast isomerization reaction would be a competitor to the reaction of this RO2 species with a minimum of 150 pptv NO. The isomerization reaction would be the dominant reaction pathway for this specific RO2 radical in forested regions, where NO mixing ratios are typically much smaller.
An inhomogeneous mixing of reactants causes a reduction of their chemical removal compared to the homogeneously mixed case in turbulent atmospheric flows. This can be described by the intensity of segregation I-S being the covariance of the mixing ratios of two species divided by the product of their means. Both terms appear in the balance equation of the mixing ratio and are discussed for the reaction between isoprene and OH for data of the field study ECHO 2003 above a deciduous forest. For most of these data, I-S is negatively correlated with the fraction of mean OH mixing ratio reacting with isoprene. I-S is also negatively correlated with the isoprene standard deviation. Both findings agree with model results discussed by Patton et al. (2001) and others. The correlation coefficient between OH and isoprene and, therefore, I-S increases with increasing mean reaction rate. In addition, the balance equation of the covariance between isoprene and OH is applied as the theoretical framework for the analysis of the same field data. The storage term is small, and, therefore, a diagnostic equation for this covariance can be derived. The chemical reaction term R-ij is dominated by the variance of isoprene times the quotient of mixing ratios of OH and isoprene. Based on these findings a new diagnostic equation for I-S is formulated. Comparing different terms of this equation, I-S and R-ij show a relation also to the normalised isoprene standard deviation. It is shown that not only chemistry but also turbulent and convective mixing and advection - considered in a residual term - influence I-S. Despite this finding, a detection of the influence of coherent eddy transport above the forest according to Katul et al. (1997) on I-S fails, but a relation to the turbulent and advective transport of isoprene variance is determined. The largest values of I-S are found for most unstable conditions with increasing buoyant production, confirming qualitatively model predictions by Ouwersloot et al. (2011).
Nitrous acid (HONO), as a primary precursor of OH radicals, has been considered one of the most important nitrogen-containing species in the atmosphere. Up to 30% of primary OH radical production is attributed to the photolysis of HONO. However, the major HONO formation mechanisms are still under discussion. During the Campaigns of Air Quality Research in Beijing and Surrounding Region (CAREBeijing2006) campaign, comprehensive measurements were carried out in the megacity Beijing, where the chemical budget of HONO was fully constrained. The average diurnal HONO concentration varied from 0.33 to 1.2 ppbv. The net OH production rate from HONO, P (OH)(HONO)(net), was on average (from 05:00 to 19:00 h) 7.1 x 10(6) molecule/(cm(3) s), 2.7 times higher than from O-3 photolysis. This production rate demonstrates the important role of HONO in the atmospheric chemistry of megacity Beijing. An unknown HONO source (P (unknown)) with an average of 7.3 x 10(6) molecule/(cm(3) s) was derived from the budget analysis during daytime. P (unknown) provided four times more HONO than the reaction of NO with OH did. The diurnal variation of P (unknown) showed an apparent photo-enhanced feature with a maximum around 12:00 h, which was consistent with previous studies at forest and rural sites. Laboratory studies proposed new mechanisms to recruit NO2 and J(NO2) in order to explain a photo-enhancement of of P (unknown). In this study, these mechanisms were validated against the observation-constraint P (unknown). The reaction of exited NO2 accounted for only 6% of P (unknown), and P (unknown) poorly correlated with [NO2] (R = 0.26) and J(NO2)[NO2] (R = 0.35). These results challenged the role of NO2 as a major precursor of the missing HONO source.
Trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) has been attracting increasing attention worldwide because of its increased environmental concentrations and high aquatic toxicity. Atmospheric deposition is the major source of aquatic TFA, but only a few studies have reported either air concentrations or deposition fluxes for TFA. This is the first study to report the atmospheric concentrations of TFA in China, where an annular denuder and filter pack collection system were deployed at a highly urbanized site in Beijing. In total, 14-4 air samples were collected over the course of 1 year (from May 2012 to April 2013) and analyzed directly using high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) or following derivatization by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The annual mean atmospheric concentration of TFA was 1580 +/- 558 pg/m(3), higher than the previously reported annual mean levels in Germany and Canada. For the first time, it was demonstrated that maximum concentrations of TFA were frequently observed in the afternoon, following a diurnal cycle and suggesting that a major source of airborne TFA is likely degradation of volatile precursors. Using a deposition model, the annual TFA deposition flux was estimated to be 619 +/- 264 mu g m(-2) year(-1). Nevertheless, a box model estimated that the TFA deposition flux from the degradation of HFC-134a contributed only 14% (6-33%) to the total TFA deposition flux in Beijing. Source analysis is quite important for future TFA risk predictions; therefore, future research should focus on identifying additional sources.
The removal of trace gases from the troposphere is, in most cases, initialized by reactions with hydroxyl radicals, and the products of these reactions are eventually deposited on the Earth's surface. The concentration of these hydroxyl radicals is therefore a measure of atmospheric self-cleansing. In theory, hydroxyl-radical concentrations can be enhanced by the recycling of some of the reaction products. The only known efficient recycling process involves nitrogen oxide and leads to production of ozone, yet observations in regions with high hydrocarbon and low nitrogen oxide concentrations show substantially elevated hydroxyl-radical concentrations, up to ten times higher than expected. If we normalize observed hydroxyl-radical concentrations to the maximum achievable in model calculations with variable nitrogen oxide concentrations, this photochemical coordinate system uncovers a common feature in almost all of these observations: even in the presence of inadequate amounts of nitrogen oxides, hydroxyl-radical concentrations are enhanced to the theoretical maximum obtainable at very much higher nitrogen oxide concentrations. This means that this important part of the self-cleansing capability of the atmosphere is working at maximum efficiency even in regions with a high burden of biogenic hydrocarbons and low nitrogen oxide concentration. Since these processes do not involve nitrogen oxides, tropospheric ozone production is greatly reduced compared with the expectation from current theory.
Nighttime HOx chemistry was investigated in two ground-based field campaigns (PRIDE-PRD2006 and CAREBEIJING2006) in summer 2006 in China by comparison of measured and modeled concentration data of OH and HO2. The measurement sites were located in a rural environment in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) under urban influence and in a suburban area close to Beijing, respectively. In both locations, significant nighttime concentrations of radicals were observed under conditions with high total OH reactivities of about 40-50 s(-1) in PRD and 25 s(-1) near Beijing. For OH, the nocturnal concentrations were within the range of (0.5-3) x 10(6) cm(-3), implying a significant nighttime oxidation rate of pollutants on the order of several ppb per hour. The measured nighttime concentration of HO2 was about (0.2-5) x 10(8) cm(-3), containing a significant, model-estimated contribution from RO2 as an interference. A chemical box model based on an established chemical mechanism is capable of reproducing the measured nighttime values of the measured peroxy radicals and k(OH), but underestimates in both field campaigns the observed OH by about 1 order of magnitude. Sensitivity studies with the box model demonstrate that the OH discrepancy between measured and modeled nighttime OH can be resolved, if an additional ROx production process (about 1 ppb h(-1)) and additional recycling (RO2 -> HO2 -> OH) with an efficiency equivalent to 1 ppb NO is assumed. The additional recycling mechanism was also needed to reproduce the OH observations at the same locations during daytime for conditions with NO mixing ratios below 1 ppb. This could be an indication that the same missing process operates at day and night. In principle, the required primary ROx source can be explained by ozonolysis of terpenoids, which react faster with ozone than with OH in the nighttime atmosphere. However, the amount of these highly reactive biogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) would require a strong local source, for which there is no direct evidence. A more likely explanation for an additional ROx source is the vertical downward transport of radical reservoir species in the stable nocturnal boundary layer. Using a simplified one-dimensional two-box model, it can be shown that ground-based NO emissions could generate a large vertical gradient causing a downward flux of peroxy acetic nitrate (PAN) and peroxymethacryloyl nitrate (MPAN). The downward transport and the following thermal decomposition of these compounds can produce up to 0.3 ppb h(-1) radicals in the atmospheric layer near the ground. Although this rate is not sufficient to explain the complete OH discrepancy, it indicates the potentially important role of vertical transport in the lower nighttime atmosphere.
Peroxy radical chemistry is the main component of tropospheric chemistry, which is critical for the understanding of essential tropospheric issues such as atmospheric cleansing capacity, photochemical ozone production and secondary organic aerosol formations. Field measurements of peroxy radical concentrations and related analysis with observation based model are the prominent steps to foster the current understanding of peroxy radical chemistry. This paper reviews the state of measurement techniques for peroxy radical, extensively revisits the previous field studies with direct measurements of peroxy radical, outlins the peroxy radical concentrations reported in previous field observations, summarizes the tests of photochemical mechanism with direct field measurement results and discusses the major scientific findings achieved so far. Finally, an outlook for the new directions in the study of atmospheric peroxy radical chemistry is proposed.
Gaseous nitrous acid (HONO) is an important precursor of tropospheric hydroxyl radicals (OH). OH is responsible for atmospheric self-cleansing and controls the concentrations of greenhouse gases like methane and ozone. Due to lack of measurements, vertical distributions of HONO and its sources in the troposphere remain unclear. Here, we present a set of observations of HONO and its budget made onboard a Zeppelin airship. In a sunlit layer separated from Earth's surface processes by temperature inversion, we found high HONO concentrations providing evidence for a strong gas-phase source of HONO consuming nitrogen oxides and potentially hydrogen oxide radicals. The observed properties of this production process suggest that the generally assumed impact of HONO on the abundance of OH in the troposphere is substantially overestimated.