Global modeling of organic aerosol: The importance of reactive nitrogen (NO and NO)

Abstract. Reactive nitrogen compounds, specifically NO[subscript: x] and NO[subscript: 3], likely influence global organic aerosol levels. To assess these interactions, GEOS-Chem, a chemical transport model, is updated to include improved biogenic emissions (following MEGAN v2.1/2.04), a new organic aerosol tracer lumping scheme, aerosol from nitrate radical (NO[subscript: 3) oxidation of isoprene, and NO[subscript: x]-dependent monoterpene and sesquiterpene aerosol yields. As a result of significant nighttime terpene emissions, fast reaction of monoterpenes with the nitrate radical, and relatively high aerosol yields from NO[subscript: 3] oxidation, biogenic hydrocarbon-NO[subscript: 3] reactions are expected to be a major contributor to surface level aerosol concentrations in anthropogenically influenced areas such as the United States. By including aerosol from nitrate radical oxidation in GEOS-Chem, terpene (monoterpene + sesquiterpene) aerosol approximately doubles and isoprene aerosol is enhanced by 30 to 40% in the Southeast United States. In terms of the global budget of organic aerosol, however, aerosol from nitrate radical oxidation is somewhat minor (slightly more than 3 Tg/yr) due to the relatively high volatility of organic-NO[subscript: 3] oxidation products in the yield parameterization. Globally, 69 to 88 Tg/yr of organic aerosol is predicted to be produced annually, of which 14–15 Tg/yr is from oxidation of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes and 8–9 Tg/yr from isoprene.

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