BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Modeling Kinetics and Partitioning of Secondary Organic Aerosols
Published: May 27, 2014
Posted: August 20, 2014

The general processes important to formation of secondary organic aerosols (SOA; small particles resulting from reactions of gas-phase organic precursors) are conceptually clear, including reactions of organic compounds in the gas phase and within or on particle surfaces, and evaporation/condensation/solution in liquid and semiliquid particle phases. However, organic mass partitioning between the gas phase and particles of different sizes depends on the complex interplay between these mechanisms, resulting in a range of SOA size distributions and chemical composition that together determine overall aerosol optical and cloud-nucleating properties. To improve modeling fidelity for SOA impacts, U.S. Department of Energy researchers developed and evaluated a new framework for modeling kinetic SOA gas-particle partitioning. This framework and analysis accounted for diffusion and chemical reaction within the particle phase. The framework is suitable for use in regional and global atmospheric models, despite requiring specification of the actual species and particle-phase reactions important for SOA formation. The investigators implemented the new framework within the computationally efficient Model for Simulating Aerosol Interactions and Chemistry (MOSAIC) and applied it to investigate the competitive growth dynamics of submicrometer particles. A proper representation of SOA physicochemical processes and parameters is needed in next-generation models to reliably predict not only total SOA mass, but also its composition and number size distribution, all of which together determine overall SOA optical and cloud-nucleating properties.

Reference: Zaveri, R. A., R. C. Easter, J. E. Shilling, and J. H. Seinfeld. 2014. “Modeling Kinetic Partitioning of Secondary Organic Aerosol and Size Distribution Dynamics: Representing Effects of Volatility, Phase State, and Particle-Phase Reaction,” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 14, 5153–81. DOI:10.5194/acp-14-5153-2014. (Reference link)

Contact: Sally McFarlane, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0943, Ashley Williamson, SC-23.1, (301) 903-3120
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Atmospheric System Research

Division: SC-33.1 Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Mar 23, 2021
Molecular Connections from Plants to Fungi to Ants
Lipids transfer energy and serve as an inter-kingdom communication tool in leaf-cutter ants&rsqu [more...]

Mar 19, 2021
Microbes Use Ancient Metabolism to Cycle Phosphorus
Microbial cycling of phosphorus through reduction-oxidation reactions is older and more widespre [more...]

Feb 22, 2021
Warming Soil Means Stronger Microbe Networks
Soil warming leads to more complex, larger, and more connected networks of microbes in those soi [more...]

Jan 27, 2021
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
New data pipeline identifies metabolites following heavy isotope labeling.

Analysis [more...]

Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco

  • All plant biomass is sourced from the carbon-fixing enzyme Rub [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)