Geochemical studies of low molecular weight organic acids in the atmosphere: sources, formation pathways, and gas/particle partitioning

Proc Jpn Acad Ser B Phys Biol Sci. 2023;99(1):1-28. doi: 10.2183/pjab.99.001.

ABSTRACT

Low molecular weight monocarboxylic acids (LMW monoacids, C1-C10) are the most abundant gaseous organic compound class in the atmosphere. Formic or acetic acid is the dominant volatile organic compound (VOC) in Earth’s atmosphere. They can largely contribute to rainwater acidity, especially in the tropical forest, and react with alkaline metals, ammonia, and amines, contributing to new particle formation and secondary organic aerosol production. Gaseous and particulate LMW monoacids were abundantly reported in China. They can be directly emitted from fossil fuel combustion and biomass burring; however, the secondary formation is more important than primary emissions via the photochemical oxidation of anthropogenic and biogenic VOCs. In this paper, we review the distributions of LMW monoacids from urban, mountain, and marine sites as well as from rainwater and alpine snow samples and discuss their sources and formation mechanisms in the atmosphere. We also discuss their importance as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and provide future perspectives of LMW monoacids study in the warming world.

PMID:36631074 | DOI:10.2183/pjab.99.001

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