Organic nitrate aerosol formation via NO3 + biogenic volatile organic compounds in the southeastern United States
Gas- and aerosol-phase measurements of oxidants, biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) and organic nitrates made during the Southern Oxidant and Aerosol Study (SOAS campaign, Summer 2013) in central Alabama show that a nitrate radical (NO3) reaction with monoterpenes leads to significant secondary aerosol formation. Cumulative losses of NO3 to terpenes are correlated with increase in gas- and aerosol- organic nitrate concentrations made during the campaign. Correlation of NO3 radical consumption to organic nitrate aerosol formation as measured by aerosol mass spectrometry and thermal dissociation laser-induced fluorescence suggests a molar yield of aerosol-phase monoterpene nitrates of 23-44 %. Compounds observed via chemical ionization mass spectrometry (CIMS) are correlated to predicted nitrate loss to BVOCs and show C10H17NO5, likely a hydroperoxy nitrate, is a major nitrate-oxidized terpene product being incorporated into aerosols. The comparable isoprene product C5H9NO5 was observed to contribute less than 1% of the total organic nitrate in the aerosol phase and correlations show that it is principally a gas-phase product from nitrate oxidation of isoprene. Organic nitrates comprise between 30 and 45% of the NOy budget during SOAS. Inorganic nitrates were also monitored and showed that during incidents of increased coarse-mode mineral dust, HNO3 uptake produced nitrate aerosol mass loading at a rate comparable to that of organic nitrate produced via NO3 + BVOCs.