Carnegie Mellon University Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies, Pittsburgh, USA
Received: 23 Sep 2010 – Discussion started: 15 Oct 2010
Abstract. We develop the thermodynamic underpinnings of a two-dimensional volatility basis set (2D-VBS) employing saturation mass concentration (Co) and the oxygen content (O:C) to describe volatility, mixing thermodynamics, and chemical evolution of organic aerosol. The work addresses a simple question: "Can we reasonably constrain organic-aerosol composition in the atmosphere based on only two measurable organic properties, volatility and the extent of oxygenation?" This is an extension of our earlier one-dimensional approach employing volatility only (C* = γ Co, where γ is an activity coefficient). Using available constraints on bulk organic-aerosol composition, we argue that one can reasonably predict the composition of organics (carbon, oxygen and hydrogen numbers) given a location in the Co – O:C space. Further, we argue that we can constrain the activity coefficients at various locations in this space based on the O:C of the organic aerosol.
Revised: 23 Mar 2011 – Accepted: 24 Mar 2011 – Published: 07 Apr 2011
Donahue, N. M., Epstein, S. A., Pandis, S. N., and Robinson, A. L.: A two-dimensional volatility basis set: 1. organic-aerosol mixing thermodynamics, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 3303-3318, doi:10.5194/acp-11-3303-2011, 2011.