Determination of urban volatile organic compound emission ratios and comparison with an emissions database

Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres 01/2007; 112:D10S47. DOI:10.1029/2006JD007930

ABSTRACT During the NEAQS-ITCT2k4 campaign in New England, anthropogenic VOCs and CO were measured downwind from New York City and Boston. The emission ratios of VOCs relative to CO and acetylene were calculated using a method in which the ratio of a VOC with acetylene is plotted versus the photochemical age. The intercept at the photochemical age of zero gives the emission ratio. The so determined emission ratios were compared to other measurement sets, including data from the same location in 2002, canister samples collected inside New York City and Boston, aircraft measurements from Los Angeles in 2002, and the average urban composition of 39 U.S. cities. All the measurements generally agree within a factor of two. The measured emission ratios also agree for most compounds within a factor of two with vehicle exhaust data indicating that a major source of VOCs in urban areas is automobiles. A comparison with an anthropogenic emission database shows less agreement. Especially large discrepancies were found for the C2-C4 alkanes and most oxygenated species. As an example, the database overestimated toluene by almost a factor of three, which caused an air quality forecast model (WRF-CHEM) using this database to overpredict the toluene mixing ratio by a factor of 2.5 as well. On the other hand, the overall reactivity of the measured species and the reactivity of the same compounds in the emission database were found to agree within 30%.

0 0
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Organic aerosols (OA) in Pasadena are characterized using multiple measurements from the CalNex campaign. Five OA components are identified using positive matrix factorization including hydrocarbon-like OA (HOA), and two types of oxygenated OA (OOA). The Pasadena OA elemental composition when plotted as H:C versus O:C follows a line less steep than that observed for Riverside, California. The OOA components from both locations follow a common line, however, indicating similar secondary organic aerosol (SOA) oxidation chemistry at the two sites such as fragmentation reactions leading to acid formation. In addition to the similar evolution of elemental composition, the dependence of SOA concentration on photochemical age displays quantitatively the same trends across several North American urban sites. First, the OA/ΔCO values for Pasadena increase with photochemical age exhibiting a slope identical to or slightly higher than those for Mexico City and the northeastern United States. Second, the ratios of OOA to odd-oxygen (a photochemical oxidation marker) for Pasadena, Mexico City, and Riverside are similar, suggesting a proportional relationship between SOA and odd-oxygen formation rates. Weekly cycles of the OA components are examined as well. HOA exhibits lower concentrations on Sundays versus weekdays, and the decrease in HOA matches that predicted for primary vehicle emissions using fuel sales data, traffic counts, and vehicle emission ratios. OOA does not display a weekly cycle – after accounting for differences in photochemical aging and emissions – which suggests the dominance of gasoline emissions in SOA formation under the assumption that most urban SOA precursors are from motor vehicles.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 06/2013; · 3.17 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In the second half of 2008 China's highly industrialized Pearl River Delta (PRD) region was hard-hit by the financial crisis (FC). This study reports volatile organic compounds measured in the PRD during November-December in both 2007 before the FC and 2008 after the FC. While total mixing ratios of non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) on average were only about 7% lower from 40.2 ppbv in 2007 to 37.5 ppbv in 2008, their ozone formation potentials (OFPs) dropped about 30%, resulting from about 55% plummet of aromatic hydrocarbons (AHs) against a greater than 20% increase of total alkanes/alkenes. The elevated alkanes and alkenes in 2008 could be explained by greater emissions from vehicle exhausts and LPG combustion due to rapid increase of vehicle numbers and LPG consumption; the drop of AHs could be explained by reduced emissions from industries using AH-containing solvents due to the influence of the FC, as indicated by much lower ratios of toluene to benzene and of xylenes/trichloroethylene/tetrachloroethylene to carbon monoxide (CO) in 2008. Source apportionment by positive matrix factorization (PMF) also revealed much less contribution of industry solvents to total anthropogenic NMHCs and particularly to toluene and xylenes in 2008 than in 2007. Based on PMF reconstructed source contributions, calculated OFPs by industrial emissions were responsible for 40.8% in 2007 in contrast to 18.4% in 2008. Further investigation into local industry output statistics suggested that the plummet of AHs in 2008 should be attributed to small enterprises, which contributed largely to ambient AHs due to their huge numbers and non-existent emission treatment, but were much more influenced by the FC.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 08/2012; 117(D15):15306-. · 3.17 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: [1] Ground-based and airborne volatile organic compound (VOC) measurements in Los Angeles, California, and Paris, France, during the Research at the Nexus of Air Quality and Climate Change (CalNex) and Megacities: Emissions, Urban, Regional and Global Atmospheric Pollution and Climate Effects, and Integrated Tools for Assessment and Mitigation (MEGAPOLI) campaigns, respectively, are used to examine the spatial variability of the composition of anthropogenic VOC urban emissions and to evaluate regional emission inventories. Two independent methods that take into account the effect of chemistry were used to determine the emission ratios of anthropogenic VOCs (including anthropogenic isoprene and oxygenated VOCs) over carbon monoxide (CO) and acetylene. Emission ratios from both methods agree within ±20%, showing the reliability of our approach. Emission ratios for alkenes, alkanes, and benzene are fairly similar between Los Angeles and Paris, whereas the emission ratios for C7–C9 aromatics in Paris are higher than in Los Angeles and other French and European Union urban areas by a factor of 2–3. The results suggest that the emissions of gasoline-powered vehicles still dominate the hydrocarbon distribution in northern mid-latitude urban areas, which disagrees with emission inventories. However, regional characteristics like the gasoline composition could affect the composition of hydrocarbon emissions. The observed emission ratios show large discrepancies by a factor of 2–4 (alkanes and oxygenated VOC) with the ones derived from four reference emission databases. A bias in CO emissions was also evident for both megacities. Nevertheless, the difference between measurements and inventory in terms of the overall OH reactivity is, in general, lower than 40%, and the potential to form secondary organic aerosols (SOA) agrees within 30% when considering volatile organic emissions as the main SOA precursors.
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. 02/2013; 118(4).

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Feb 9, 2013