Emissions from human activity alter the formation of biogenic secondary organic aerosols


PICTURE: Formation of biogenic secondary organic aerosols (SOA) by complex anthropogenic-biogenic interactions. view After

Credit: Li Xu

Despite their extremely small size, submicronic airborne aerosols are critical pollutants with implications for climate change, air quality and human health. Among these particles, secondary organic aerosols (SOA) are formed when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) oxidize to reduce the volatility of products that bind and increase the size of aerosol particles, or in some cases they can simply exist by themselves. SOA constitutes a significant fraction of the overall mass of aerosols. Scientists are trying to improve the future modeling of aerosols, but several gaps remain between the SOA budgets simulated by model and observed in the field.

“Large uncertainties in the assessments of SOA budget models, and therefore its effects on the climate, have prompted extensive research to find out why they exist,” said Professor Lin Du of the Environmental Research Institute of the United States. ‘Shandong University. “Biogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced by terrestrial vegetation are the major precursors of SOA globally, and their potential for SOA formation can be altered by anthropogenic emissions.”

Prof. Du’s research group has systematically summarized the field evidence and chemical processes behind the formation of SOA through anthropogenic and biogenic interactions. Advances in atmospheric science published their journal work entitled “ Anthropogenic Effects on the Formation of Biogenic Secondary Organic Aerosols ”.

The main anthropogenic pollutants, including nitrogen oxides (NOX), aerosol particles, sulfur dioxide (SO2), ammonia (NH3), and other amines are involved in the formation of SOA by gas phase and particulate phase reactions. The magnitude of these interactions is closely related to BVOC precursors, pollutant levels, oxidants, and other atmospheric conditions.

“Nonlinear interactions between human and natural systems are much more complex than their current representation in atmospheric models,” said Prof Du. “Meanwhile, the complexity and variability of the atmospheric environment itself makes exploring these interactions more difficult. ”

Researchers observed strong correlations between the formation of biogenic SOA and anthropogenic pollutants in many regions influenced by both anthropogenic and biogenic sources. Although VOCs emitted from natural sources cannot be controlled directly, humans can mitigate a fraction of biogenic SOA by limiting anthropogenic pollutants. There is a need to shed light on anthropogenic-biogenic interactions to improve estimates of how and to what extent anthropogenic emissions may alter global aerosol concentrations. These studies should help develop more effective pollution control measures and reduce uncertainties in the SOA budget and its associated climate effects.

” Based on a comprehensive review of fundamental knowledge, future efforts, such as laboratory studies under more relevant atmospheric conditions, development of more authentic standards, field observations of the temporal and spatial distribution of two BVOCs and anthropogenic pollutants, are recommended. Professor Du said. “With more and more studies on the qualitative and quantitative analysis of anthropogenic-biogenic interactions through laboratory explorations and field observations, better reproduction of SOA concentrations by atmospheric models would be expected.” . ”

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