EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Impacts of monocyclic aromatics on regional and global tropospheric gas-phase chemistry

Rolf Sander1, David Cabrera-Perez1, Sara Bacer1,4, Sergey Gromov1, Jos Lelieveld1, Domenico Taraborrelli2, and Andrea Pozzer1,3
Rolf Sander et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Air Chemistry Department, Mainz, Germany
  • 2Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK-8), Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Jülich, Germany
  • 3International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy
  • 4Now at: Universite Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, Grenoble INP, LEGI, Grenoble, France

Aromatic compounds in the troposphere are reactive towards ozone
(O3), hydroxyl (OH) and other radicals. Here we present an
assessment of their impacts on the gas-phase chemistry, using the
general circulation model EMAC (ECHAM5/MESSy Atmospheric Chemistry). The
monocyclic aromatics considered in this study comprise benzene, toluene,
xylenes, phenol, styrene, ethylbenzene, trimethylbenzenes, benzaldehyde
and lumped higher aromatics bearing more than 9 C atoms. On a global
scale, the estimated net changes are minor when aromatic compounds are
included in the chemical mechanism of our model. For instance, the
tropospheric burden of CO increases by about 6 %, and those of OH,
O3, and NOx (NO + NO2) decrease between
2 % and 14 %. The global mean changes are small partially because of
compensating effects between high- and low-NOx regions. The
largest change is predicted for glyoxal, which increases globally by 36
%. Significant regional changes are identified for several species. For
instance, glyoxal increases by 130 % in Europe and 260 % in East Asia,
respectively. Large increases in HCHO are also predicted in these
regions. In general, the influence of aromatics is particularly evident
in areas with high concentrations of NOx, with increases up
to 12 % in O3 and 17 % in OH. Although the global impact of
aromatics is limited, our results indicate that aromatics can strongly
influence tropospheric chemistry on a regional scale, most significantly
in East Asia.

How to cite: Sander, R., Cabrera-Perez, D., Bacer, S., Gromov, S., Lelieveld, J., Taraborrelli, D., and Pozzer, A.: Impacts of monocyclic aromatics on regional and global tropospheric gas-phase chemistry, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-5114,, 2020.


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