Terpene Composition Complexity Controls Secondary Organic Aerosol Yields from Scots Pine Volatile Emissions
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CitationFaiola, CL. Buchholz, A. Kari, E. Yli-Pirilä, P. Holopainen, JK. Kivimäenpää, M. Miettinen, P. Worsnop, DR. Lehtinen, KEJ. Guenther, AB. Virtanen, A. (2018). Terpene Composition Complexity Controls Secondary Organic Aerosol Yields from Scots Pine Volatile Emissions. Scientific Reports, 8, 3053. 10.1038/s41598-018-21045-1.
Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) impact climate by scattering and absorbing radiation and contributing to cloud formation. SOA models are based on studies of simplified chemical systems that do not account for the chemical complexity in the atmosphere. This study investigated SOA formation from a mixture of real Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) emissions including a variety of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. SOA generation was characterized from different combinations of volatile compounds as the plant emissions were altered with an herbivore stress treatment. During active herbivore feeding, monoterpene and sesquiterpene emissions increased, but SOA mass yields decreased after accounting for absorption effects. SOA mass yields were controlled by sesquiterpene emissions in healthy plants. In contrast, SOA mass yields from stressed plant emissions were controlled by the specific blend of monoterpene emissions. Conservative estimates using a box model approach showed a 1.5- to 2.3-fold aerosol enhancement when the terpene complexity was taken into account. This enhancement was relative to the commonly used model monoterpene, “α-pinene”. These results suggest that simplifying terpene complexity in SOA models could lead to underpredictions in aerosol mass loading.