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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2020-295
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2020-295
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: development and technical paper 26 Oct 2020

Submitted as: development and technical paper | 26 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

Simulation of the evolution of biomass burning organic aerosol with different volatility basis set schemes in PMCAMx-SRv1.0

Georgia N. Theodoritsi1,2, Giancarlo Ciarelli3,a, and Spyros N. Pandis1,2,3 Georgia N. Theodoritsi et al.
  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Patras, Patras, Greece
  • 2Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH/ICE-HT), Patras, Greece
  • 3Department of Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA
  • anow at: Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research/Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. A source-resolved three-dimensional chemical transport model, PMCAMx-SR, was applied in the continental U.S. to investigate the contribution of the various components (primary and secondary) of biomass burning organic aerosol (bbOA) to organic aerosol levels. Two different schemes based on the volatility basis set were used for the simulation of the bbOA during different seasons. The first is the default scheme of PMCAMx-SR and the second is a recently developed scheme based on laboratory experiments of the bbOA evolution.

The simulations with the alternative bbOA scheme predict much higher total bbOA concentrations when compared with the base case ones. This is mainly due to the high emissions of intermediate volatility organic compounds (IVOCs) assumed in the alternative scheme. The oxidation of these compounds is predicted to be a significant source of secondary organic aerosol. The impact of the other parameters that differ in the two schemes is low to negligible. The monthly average maximum predicted concentrations of the alternative bbOA scheme were approximately an order of magnitude higher than those of the default scheme during all seasons.<\p>

The performance of the two schemes was evaluated against observed total organic aerosol concentrations from several measurement sites across the US. The results were mixed. The default scheme performed better during July and September while the alternative scheme performed a little better during April. These results illustrate the uncertainty of the corresponding predictions, the need to quantify the emissions and reactions of IVOCs from specific biomass sources, and to better constrain the total (primary and secondary) bbOA levels.

Georgia N. Theodoritsi et al.

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Short summary
Two schemes based on the volatility basis set were used for the simulation of biomass burning organic aerosol in the continental US. The first is the default scheme of PMCAMx-SR and the second is a recently developed scheme based on laboratory experiments. The alternative bbOA scheme predicts much higher concentrations. The default scheme performed better during summer and fall while the alternative scheme was a little better during spring.
Two schemes based on the volatility basis set were used for the simulation of biomass burning...
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