Development of aroCACM/MPMPO 1.0: a model to simulate secondary organic aerosol from aromatic precursors in regional models
Abstract. The atmospheric oxidation of aromatic compounds is an important source of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) in urban areas. The oxidation of aromatics depends strongly on the levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx). However, details of the mechanisms by which oxidation occurs have only recently been elucidated. Xu et al. (2015) developed an updated version of the gas-phase Caltech Atmospheric Chemistry Mechanism (CACM) designed to simulate toluene and m-xylene oxidation in chamber experiments over a range of NOx conditions. The output from such a mechanism can be used in thermodynamic predictions of gas–particle partitioning leading to SOA. The current work reports the development of a model for SOA formation that combines the gas-phase mechanism of Xu et al. (2015) with an updated lumped SOA-partitioning scheme (Model to Predict the Multi-phase Partitioning of Organics, MPMPO) that allows partitioning to multiple aerosol phases and that is designed for use in larger-scale three-dimensional models. The resulting model is termed aroCACM/MPMPO 1.0. The model is integrated into the University of California, Irvine – California Institute of Technology (UCI-CIT) Airshed Model, which simulates the South Coast Air Basin (SoCAB) of California. Simulations using 2012 emissions indicate that “low-NOx” pathways to SOA formation from aromatic oxidation play an important role, even in regions that typically exhibit high-NOx concentrations.