Global Budgets of Atmospheric Glyoxal and Methylglyoxal, and Implications for Formation of Secondary Organic Aerosols
Burrows, John P.
Henze, Daven K.
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CitationFu, Tzung-May, Daniel J. Jacob, Folkard Wittrock, John P. Burrows, Mihalis Vrekoussis, and Daven K. Henze. 2008. Global budgets of atmospheric glyoxal and methylglyoxal, and implications for formation of secondary organic aerosols. Journal of Geophysical Research 113(D15303): 1-17.
AbstractWe construct global budgets of atmospheric glyoxal and methylglyoxal with the goal of quantifying their potential for global secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation via irreversible uptake by aqueous aerosols and clouds. We conduct a detailed simulation of glyoxal and methylglyoxal in the GEOS-Chem global 3-D chemical transport model including our best knowledge of source and sink processes. Our resulting best estimates of the global sources of glyoxal and methylglyoxal are 45 Tg a−1 and 140 Tg a−1, respectively. Oxidation of biogenic isoprene contributes globally 47% of glyoxal and 79% of methylglyoxal. The second most important precursors are acetylene (mostly anthropogenic) for glyoxal and acetone (mostly biogenic) for methylglyoxal. Both acetylene and acetone have long lifetimes and provide a source of dicarbonyls in the free troposphere. Atmospheric lifetimes of glyoxal and methylglyoxal in the model are 2.9 h and 1.6 h, respectively, mostly determined by photolysis. Simulated dicarbonyl concentrations in continental surface air at northern midlatitudes are in the range 10–100 ppt, consistent with in situ measurements. On a global scale, the highest concentrations are over biomass burning regions, in agreement with glyoxal column observations from the SCIAMACHY satellite instrument. SCIAMACHY and a few ship cruises also suggest a large marine source of dicarbonyls missing from our model. The global source of SOA from the irreversible uptake of dicarbonyls in GEOS-Chem is 11 Tg C a−1, including 2.6 Tg C a−1 from glyoxal and 8 Tg C a−1 from methylglyoxal; 90% of this source takes place in clouds. The magnitude of the global SOA source from dicarbonyls is comparable to that computed in GEOS-Chem from the standard mechanism involving reversible partitioning of semivolatile products from the oxidation of monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, isoprene, and aromatics.
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