Physical and chemical processes of wintertime secondary nitrate aerosol formation Academic Article uri icon


  • The UCD/CIT model was modified to include a process analysis (PA) scheme for gas and particulate matter (PM) to study the formation of secondary nitrate aerosol during a stagnant wintertime air pollution episode during the California Regional PM2.5/PM10 Air Quality Study (CRPAQS) where detailed measurements of PM components are available at a few sites. Secondary nitrate is formed in the urban areas from near the ground to a few hundred meters above the surface during the day with a maximum modeled net increase rate of 4 μg·m-3·d-1 during the study episode. The secondary nitrate formation rate in rural areas is lower due to lower NO2. In the afternoon hours, near-surface temperature can be high enough to evaporate the particulate nitrate. In the nighttime hours, both the gas phase N2O5 reactions with water vapor and the N2O5 heterogeneous reactions with particle-bound water are important for secondary nitrate formation. The N2O5 reactions are most import near the surface to a few hundred meters above surface with a maximum modeled net secondary nitrate increase rate of 1 μg·m-3·d-1 and are more significant in the rural areas where the O3 concentrations are high at night. In general, vertical transport during the day moves the nitrate formed near the surface to higher elevations. During the stagnant days, process analysis indicates that the nitrate concentration in the upper air builds up and leads to a net downward flux of nitrate through vertical diffusion and a rapid increase of surface nitrate concentration. © 2011 Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

author list (cited authors)

  • Ying, Q. i.

citation count

  • 11

publication date

  • August 2011