Monoterpenes are the largest source of summertime organic aerosol in the southeastern United States

Haofei Zhang, Lindsay D. Yee, Ben H. Lee, Michael P. Curtis, David R. Worton, Gabriel Isaacman-VanWertz, John H. Offenberg, Michael Lewandowski, Tadeusz E. Kleindienst, Melinda R. Beaver, Amara L. Holder, William A. Lonneman, Kenneth S. Docherty, Mohammed Jaoui, Havala O.T. Pye, Weiwei Hu, Douglas A. Day, Pedro Campuzano-Jost, Jose L. Jimenez, Hongyu GuoRodney J. Weber, Joost De Gouw, Abigail R. Koss, Eric S. Edgerton, William Brune, Claudia Mohr, Felipe D. Lopez-Hilfiker, Anna Lutz, Nathan M. Kreisberg, Steve R. Spielman, Susanne V. Hering, Kevin R. Wilson, Joel A. Thornton, Allen H. Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


The chemical complexity of atmospheric organic aerosol (OA) has caused substantial uncertainties in understanding its origins and environmental impacts. Here, we provide constraints on OA origins through compositional characterization with molecular-level details. Our results suggest that secondary OA (SOA) from monoterpene oxidation accounts for approximately half of summertime fine OA in Centreville, AL, a forested area in the southeastern United States influenced by anthropogenic pollution. We find that different chemical processes involving nitrogen oxides, during days and nights, play a central role in determining the mass of monoterpene SOA produced. These findings elucidate the strong anthropogenic–biogenic interaction affecting ambient aerosol in the southeastern United States and point out the importance of reducing anthropogenic emissions, especially under a changing climate, where biogenic emissions will likely keep increasing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2038-2043
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
StatePublished - Feb 27 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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