Study of Secondary Organic Aerosol Formation from Chlorine Radical-Initiated Oxidation of Volatile Organic Compounds in a Polluted Atmosphere Using a 3D Chemical Transport Model. Academic Article uri icon


  • The impact of chlorine (Cl) chemistry on the formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) during a severe wintertime air pollution episode is investigated in this study. The Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model v5.0.1 with a modified SAPRC-11 gas-phase mechanism and heterogeneous reactions for reactive chlorine species is updated to include the formation of chlorine radical (Cl)-initiated SOA (Cl-SOA) from aromatic compounds, terpenes, and isoprene. Reported SOA yield data on Cl-SOA formation from environmental chamber studies are used to derive the mass yield and volatility data for the two-product equilibrium-partitioning model. The heterogeneous reaction of particulate chloride (pCl-) leads to a significant increase in the Cl and hydroxyl radical (OH) concentrations throughout the domain. Monthly Cl-SOA concentrations range from 0.7 to 3.0 g m-3, with increasing anthropogenic Cl emissions leading to higher Cl-SOA concentrations. Indirectly, this also leads to an increase of monthly SOA by up to 2.5-3.0 g m-3 from the traditional OH oxidation pathways as well as the surface uptake of glyoxal and methylglyoxal. Increased OH concentrations, however, do not always lead to higher overall SOA concentrations in the entire domain. High OH reduces the lifetime of glyoxal/methylglyoxal (GLY/MGLY), making them less available to form SOA. In the Sichuan Basin (SCB) and part of Southwest China where high O3 concentrations meet high pCl emissions, a higher Cl/OH ratio leads to net O3 loss from the Cl + O3 reaction, thus reducing SOA formation from the O3 oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Also, the competition between Cl and OH for VOCs could lead to lower overall SOA because the molar yields of the semivolatile products in Cl-VOC reactions are lower than their OH + VOC reaction counterparts. When Cl concentrations are further increased with higher emissions of Cl, precursor gases can be depleted and become the limiting factor in SOA formation. This study reveals the direct and indirect impacts of chlorine chemistry on SOA in polluted winter conditions, which are greatly affected by the Cl emissions, the ambient O3 level, and the availability of SOA precursors.

published proceedings

  • Environ Sci Technol

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Choi, M. S., Qiu, X., Zhang, J., Wang, S., Li, X., Sun, Y., Chen, J., & Ying, Q. i.

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • Choi, Min Su||Qiu, Xionghui||Zhang, Jie||Wang, Shuxiao||Li, Xinghua||Sun, Yele||Chen, Jianmin||Ying, Qi

publication date

  • November 2020