Organic aerosol formation in urban and industrial plumes near Houston and Dallas, Texas

R. Bahreini, B. Ervens, A. M. Middlebrook, C. Warneke, J. A. De Gouw, P. F. DeCarlo, J. L. Jimenez, C. A. Brock, J. A. Neuman, T. B. Ryerson, H. Stark, E. Atlas, J. Brioude, A. Fried, J. S. Holloway, J. Peischl, D. Richter, J. Walega, P. Weibring, A. G. WollnyF. C. Fehsenfeid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Scopus citations


We present measurements of organic aerosol (OA) in urban plumes from Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth as well as in industrial plumes in the Houston area during TexAQS-2006. Consistent with the TexAQS-2000 study, measurements show greater amount of aerosol mass downwind of the industrial centers compared to urban areas. This is likely due to higher emission and processing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the industrial sources along the Houston ship channel. Comparisons of the current measurements with observations from the northeastern (NE) United States indicate that the observed ratios of the enhancement above background in OA, △OA, to the enhancement above background in CO, △CO, downwind of urban centers of Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth are within a factor of 2 of the same values in plumes from urban areas in the NE United States. In the ship channel plumes, △OA/△CO exceeds that in the urban areas by factors ranging from 1.5 to 7. We use a chemical box model to simulate secondary organic aerosol. (SOA) formation from anthropogenic and biogenic VOCs in different plumes using recently reported dependencies of SOA yields on VOCZNOx ratios. Modeled SOA to CO enhancement ratios are within a factor of 2 of measurements. The increase in SOA from biogenic VOCs (BVOCs) predicted by the chemical box model as well as by a separate analysis using a Lagrangian particle dispersion model (FLEXPART) is <0.7 μg per standard m3 (sm-3). We find no evidence for a substantial influence of BVOCs on OA formation in our measurements in Houston area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberD00F16
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology


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