Aerosol pH and liquid water content determine when particulate matter is sensitive to ammonia and nitrate availability

Nitrogen oxides (NOx) and ammonia (NH3) from anthropogenic and biogenic emissions are central contributors to particulate matter (PM) concentrations worldwide. The response of PM to changes in the emissions of both compounds is typically studied on a case-by-case basis, owing in part to the complex thermodynamic interactions of these aerosol precursors with other PM constituents. Here we present a simple but thermodynamically consistent approach that expresses the chemical domains of sensitivity of aerosol particulate matter to NH3 and HNO3 availability in terms of aerosol pH and liquid water content. From our analysis, four policy-relevant regimes emerge in terms of sensitivity: (i) NH3 sensitive, (ii) HNO3 sensitive, (iii) NH3 and HNO3 sensitive, and (iv) insensitive to NH3 or HNO3. For all regimes, the PM remains sensitive to nonvolatile precursors, such as nonvolatile cations and sulfate. When this framework is applied to ambient measurements or predictions of PM and gaseous precursors, the “chemical regime” of PM sensitivity to NH3 and HNO3 availability is directly determined. The use of these regimes allows for novel insights, and this framework is an important tool to evaluate chemical transport models. With this extended understanding, aerosol pH and associated liquid water content naturally emerge as previously ignored state parameters that drive PM formation.


Published in:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20, 5, 3249-3258
Year:
Mar 18 2020
Note:
This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Other identifiers:
Laboratories:


Note: The status of this file is: Anyone


 Record created 2020-03-19, last modified 2020-03-19

Fulltext:
Download fulltext
PDF

Rate this document:

Rate this document:
1
2
3
 
(Not yet reviewed)