University of Oulu

Hong, J., Äijälä, M., Häme, S. A. K., Hao, L., Duplissy, J., Heikkinen, L. M., Nie, W., Mikkilä, J., Kulmala, M., Prisle, N. L., Virtanen, A., Ehn, M., Paasonen, P., Worsnop, D. R., Riipinen, I., Petäjä, T., and Kerminen, V.-M.: Estimates of the organic aerosol volatility in a boreal forest using two independent methods, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 4387-4399,, 2017

Estimates of the organic aerosol volatility in a boreal forest using two independent methods

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Author: Hong, Juan1; Äijälä, Mikko1; Häme, Silja A. K.1;
Organizations: 1Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 64, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
2Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio 70211, Finland
3Helsinki Institute of Physics, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 64, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
4Institute for Climate and Global Change Research & School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210093, China
5University of Oulu, Nano and Molecular Systems Research Unit, P.O. Box 3000, 90014 University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
6Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, Massachusetts, USA
7Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry, Stockholm University, 10961 Stockholm, Sweden
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Copernicus Publications, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-10-29


The volatility distribution of secondary organic aerosols that formed and had undergone aging — i.e., the particle mass fractions of semi-volatile, low-volatility and extremely low volatility organic compounds in the particle phase — was characterized in a boreal forest environment of Hyytiälä, southern Finland. This was done by interpreting field measurements using a volatility tandem differential mobility analyzer (VTDMA) with a kinetic evaporation model. The field measurements were performed during April and May 2014. On average, 40% of the organics in particles were semi-volatile, 34% were low-volatility organics and 26% were extremely low volatility organics. The model was, however, very sensitive to the vaporization enthalpies assumed for the organics (ΔHVAP). The best agreement between the observed and modeled temperature dependence of the evaporation was obtained when effective vaporization enthalpy values of 80 kJmol⁻¹ were assumed. There are several potential reasons for the low effective enthalpy value, including molecular decomposition or dissociation that might occur in the particle phase upon heating, mixture effects and compound-dependent uncertainties in the mass accommodation coefficient. In addition to the VTDMA-based analysis, semi-volatile and low-volatility organic mass fractions were independently determined by applying positive matrix factorization (PMF) to high-resolution aerosol mass spectrometer (HR-AMS) data. The factor separation was based on the oxygenation levels of organics, specifically the relative abundance of mass ions at m∕z 43 (f43) and m∕z 44 (f44). The mass fractions of these two organic groups were compared against the VTDMA-based results. In general, the best agreement between the VTDMA results and the PMF-derived mass fractions of organics was obtained when ΔHVAP = 80 kJmol⁻¹ was set for all organic groups in the model, with a linear correlation coefficient of around 0.4. However, this still indicates that only about 16% (R² of the variation can be explained by the linear regression between the results from these two methods. The prospect of determining of extremely low volatility organic aerosols (ELVOAs) from AMS data using the PMF analysis should be assessed in future studies.

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Series: Atmospheric chemistry and physics
ISSN: 1680-7316
ISSN-E: 1680-7324
ISSN-L: 1680-7316
Pages: 4387 - 4399
DOI: 10.5194/acp-17-4387-2017
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 114 Physical sciences
Funding: This work was supported by the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence (grant no. 272041), the European Research Council (ATM-NUCLE and ATMOGAIN no. 278277), University of Helsinki funds, and the European Commission (ACTRIS, no. 262254).
Copyright information: © Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.