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Monoterpenes are the largest source of summertime organic aerosol in the southeastern United States.

  • Author(s): Zhang, Haofei
  • Yee, Lindsay D
  • Lee, Ben H
  • Curtis, Michael P
  • Worton, David R
  • Isaacman-VanWertz, Gabriel
  • Offenberg, John H
  • Lewandowski, Michael
  • Kleindienst, Tadeusz E
  • Beaver, Melinda R
  • Holder, Amara L
  • Lonneman, William A
  • Docherty, Kenneth S
  • Jaoui, Mohammed
  • Pye, Havala OT
  • Hu, Weiwei
  • Day, Douglas A
  • Campuzano-Jost, Pedro
  • Jimenez, Jose L
  • Guo, Hongyu
  • Weber, Rodney J
  • de Gouw, Joost
  • Koss, Abigail R
  • Edgerton, Eric S
  • Brune, William
  • Mohr, Claudia
  • Lopez-Hilfiker, Felipe D
  • Lutz, Anna
  • Kreisberg, Nathan M
  • Spielman, Steve R
  • Hering, Susanne V
  • Wilson, Kevin R
  • Thornton, Joel A
  • Goldstein, Allen H
  • et al.
Abstract

The chemical complexity of atmospheric organic aerosol (OA) has caused substantial uncertainties in understanding its origins and environmental impacts. Here, we provide constraints on OA origins through compositional characterization with molecular-level details. Our results suggest that secondary OA (SOA) from monoterpene oxidation accounts for approximately half of summertime fine OA in Centreville, AL, a forested area in the southeastern United States influenced by anthropogenic pollution. We find that different chemical processes involving nitrogen oxides, during days and nights, play a central role in determining the mass of monoterpene SOA produced. These findings elucidate the strong anthropogenic-biogenic interaction affecting ambient aerosol in the southeastern United States and point out the importance of reducing anthropogenic emissions, especially under a changing climate, where biogenic emissions will likely keep increasing.

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