Molecular Composition of Oxygenated Organic Molecules and Their Contributions to Organic Aerosol in Beijing


The understanding at a molecular level of ambient secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation is hampered by poorly constrained formation mechanisms and insufficient analytical methods. Especially in developing countries, SOA related haze is a great concern due to its significant effects on climate and human health. We present simultaneous measurements of gas-phase volatile organic compounds (VOCs), oxygenated organic molecules (OOMs), and particle-phase SOA in Beijing. We show that condensation of the measured OOMs explains 26-39% of the organic aerosol mass growth, with the contribution of OOMs to SOA enhanced during severe haze episodes. Our novel results provide a quantitative molecular connection from anthropogenic emissions to condensable organic oxidation product vapors, their concentration in particle-phase SOA, and ultimately to haze formation.