Modeling aerosol from the oxidation of biogenic compounds

The monoterpenes (of general formula C10H16) are a class of particular interest among biogenic hydrocarbons, because their degradation in the atmosphere generates compounds which might condense on existing aerosols, or even nucleate to form new particles. Organic aerosols constitute an important fraction of the total aerosol content in the troposphere.

Furthermore, they can act as Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN) and play a role in the formation and radiative properties of clouds. Their formation, however, remains poorly understood, in part because of the extremely complex degradation mechanisms of the monoterpenes.

In collaboration with the group of Prof. Peeters in KULeuven, we have incorporated a detailed chemical oxidation mechanism of α-pinene, an important monoterpene, into the chemical model BOREAM (Biogenic hydrocarbon Oxidation and Related Aerosol formation Model), which contains approximately 15000 reactions and 2500 species.

Gas phase chemistry

Mechanism example

Partitioning between gas and aerosol phase

Virtanen et al. 2010 organic aerosolVirtanen et al. (2010), organic aerosol

Model validation

Smog Chamber (Euphore)

Model reduction

Small graph SOA parameterization

Further topics

Current work within the BIOSOA project further includes extending current models to the aqueous phase and treatment of other monoterpenes.