Jie Zhang1, Xiao He2, Yaqin Gao3, Shuhui Zhu2,3, Shengao Jing3, Hongli Wang3, Jian Zhen Yu2,4, Qi Ying This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1 

1 Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, 77843-3136, USA
2 Division of Environment & Sustainability, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
3 State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of the Formation and Prevention of Urban Air Pollution Complex, Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences, Shanghai 200233, China
4 Department of Chemistry, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China

Received: September 5, 2021
Revised: October 27, 2021
Accepted: November 1, 2021

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.210233  

Cite this article:

Zhang, J., He, X., Gao, Y., Zhu, S., Jing, S., Wang, H., Yu, J.Z., Ying, Q. (2021). Assessing Regional Model Predictions of Wintertime SOA from Aromatic Compounds and Monoterpenes with Precursor-specific Tracers. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 21, 210233. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.210233


  • Aromatic and monoterpene SOA were modeled using two emission inventories.
  • REAS3 inventory leads to better predictions of gas phase aromatic compounds.
  • The ratio of observed daily DHOPA to predicted aromatics SOA is (0.5–1.6) × 103.
  • The ratio of pinic acid + 3-MBTCA to modeled terpene SOA is 0.13–0.25.


The Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model, with modifications to track precursor-specific SOA, was applied to model SOA formation from aromatic compounds and monoterpenes in Shanghai in November 2018. The modeled total aromatic SOA showed a strong correlation with measured 2,3-dihydroxy-4-oxopentanoic acid (DHOPA) concentrations in the ambient aerosols (R > 0.5 for hourly data and R > 0.75 for daily average data). The ratios of observed DHOPA and modeled aromatic SOA with all components included is around (0.5–1.6) × 10–3, lower than the commonly used ratio of 4 × 10–3 determined for toluene in a series of smog chamber experiments. This suggests that aromatic SOA could be underestimated when directly using the chamber-derived ratios. The predicted monoterpene SOA shows a stronger correlation with the sum of two α-pinene tracers (α-pinT), pinic acid and 3-MBTCA, with R > 0.6 and R > 0.8 for hourly and daily data, respectively. The α-pinT to modeled monoterpene SOA ratios are 0.13–0.25, which generally match the ratio of 0.168 ± 0.081 reported in chamber studies. However, since the current model does not treat α-pinene and its SOA explicitly, future modeling studies should include a more detailed treatment of monoterpene emissions and reactions to predict SOA from these important precursors and compare with the ambient precursor-specific SOA-tracers.

Keywords: SOA tracer, Aromatics, Monoterpenes, DHOPA, Chemical transport model

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