Evidence for NOx Control over Nighttime SOA Formation

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Science  07 Sep 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6099, pp. 1210-1212
DOI: 10.1126/science.1221520

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Nighttime Sources

Organic aerosols account for about half of the total mass of small (submicrometer) particles in the troposphere, and most of them are believed to form through the oxidation of volatile molecules, rather than being emitted directly from specific sources. These particles have important roles in many atmospheric processes, and therefore a better understanding of their complex composition and chemistry is desirable. Rollins et al. (p. 1210) report on measurements of particulate organic nitrates, an important class of organic aerosols that form at night. However, they also found that high concentrations of organic molecules can suppress the growth of organic nitrate particles. These observations should help improve efforts to reduce organic aerosol pollution.