Organic aerosols represent a major fraction of the climatologically important submicrometer aerosol mass in the atmosphere but they have proved challenging to understand and to include in models due to the complexity of these mixtures and of the processes that influence them. In a current Science article, a team of researchers led by DOE-funded scientist Jose-Luis Jimenez present a framework for interpreting the chemical transformations and physical characteristics common to organic aerosols from diverse human and natural sources. The team noted that as aerosols from these widely differing sources oxidize in the atmosphere, there are common progressions in important properties such as volatility, oxidation state, light absorption, and interaction with atmospheric water vapor or clouds. This framework holds promise for enabling scientists to build model descriptions of the behavior of this important atmospheric component.
Reference: Jimenez, J. L., et al. 2009. "Evolution of Organic Aerosols in the Atmosphere," Science 326, 1525.
Contact: Ashley Williamson, SC-23.1, (301) 903-3120
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