Environmental science & technology, 48(19):11127-36, American Chemical Society, 10, 2014. Paper Website abstract bibtex
Aerosol liquid water (ALW) influences aerosol radiative properties and the partitioning of gas-phase water-soluble organic compounds (WSOCg) to the condensed phase. A recent modeling study drew attention to the anthropogenic nature of ALW in the southeastern United States, where predicted ALW is driven by regional sulfate. Herein, we demonstrate that ALW in the Po Valley, Italy, is also anthropogenic but is driven by locally formed nitrate, illustrating regional differences in the aerosol components responsible for ALW. We present field evidence for the influence of controllable ALW on the lifetimes and atmospheric budgets of reactive organic gases and note the role of ALW in the formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). Nitrate is expected to increase in importance due to increased emissions of nitrate precursors, as well as policies aimed at reducing sulfur emissions. We argue that the impacts of increased particulate nitrate in future climate and air quality scenarios may be under predicted because they do not account for the increased potential for SOA formation in nitrate-derived ALW, nor do they account for the impacts of this ALW on reactive gas budgets and gas-phase photochemistry.