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Published August 24, 2015 | Submitted
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Characterization of Reactants Reaction Mechanisms and Reaction Products Leading to Extreme Acid Rain and Acid Aerosol Conditions in Southern California


Analyses of fogwater collected by inertial impaction in the Los Angeles basin and the San Joaquin Valley indicated unusually high concentrations of major and minor ions. The dominant ions measured were NO_3^-, SO_4^(2-), NH_4^+ and H^+ Nitrate exceeded sulfate on an equivalent basis by a factor of 2.5 in the central and coastal regions of the Los Angeles basin, but was approximately equal in the eastern Los Angeles basin and the San Joaquin Valley. Maximum observed values for NH_4^+, NO_3^- and SO_4^(2-) were 10., 12., and 5. meq L^(-1), while the lowest pH observed was 2.2. Iron and lead concentrations over 0.1 mM and 0.01 mM, respectively, were observed. High concentrations of chemical components in fog appeared to correlate well with the occurrence of smog events. Concentrations in fogwater were also affected by the physical processes of condensation and evaporation. Light, dissipating fogs routinely showed the highest concentrations. The chemistry of urban fog has been modelled using a hybrid kinetic and equilibrium computer code. Extreme acidity found in Southern California fog may be due either to condensation and growth on acidic condensation nuclei or in situ S(IV) oxidation. Important oxidants of S(IV) were found to be O_2 as catalyzed by Fe(III) and Mn(II), H_2)_2 and 0_3. formation of hydroxymethane sulfonate ion (HMSA) via the nucleophilic addition of HSO_3^-to CH_2 CH_2O(ℓ) significantly increased the droplet capacity for S(IV) but did not slow down the net S(IV) oxidation rate leading to fog acidification. Gas phase nitric acid, ammonia and hydrogen peroxide were scavenged efficiently, although aqueous phase hydrogen peroxide was depleted rapidly by reduction with S(IV). Nitrate production in the aqueous phase was found to be dominated by HNO_3 gas phase scavenging. Major aqueous-phase species concentrations were controlled primarily by condensation, evaporation, and pH.

Additional Information

© 1983 I thank Dr. H. N. Liljestrand of the University of Texas for his help and advice. I also thank Drs. J. N. Galloway and G. E. Likens for interesting me in acid. rain. The support of the Air Resources Board of California is acknowledged.

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