Ground-based measurements of meteorological parameters and water-soluble organic carbon in the gas(WSOCg) and particle (WSOCp) phases were carried out in Atlanta, Georgia, from May to September 2007. Fourteen separate events were observed throughout the summer in which WSOCp and water vapor concentrations were highly correlated (average WSOCp-water vapor r = 0.92); however, for the entire summer, no well-defined relationship existed between the two. The correlation events, which lasted on average 19 h, were characterized by a wide range of WSOCp and water vapor concentrations. Several hypotheses for the correlation are explored, including heterogeneous liquid phase SOA formation and the co-emission of biogenic VOCs and water vapor. The data provide supporting evidence for contributions from both and suggest the possibility of a synergistic effect between the co-emission of water vapor and VOCs from biogenic sources on SOA formation. Median WSOCp concentrations were also correlated with elemental carbon (EC), although this correlation extended over the entire summer. Despite the emission of water vapor from anthropogenic mobile sources and the WSOCp-EC correlation, mobile sources were not considered a potential cause for the WSOCp-water vapor correlations because of their low contribution to the water vapor budget. Meteorology could perhaps have influenced the WSOCp-EC correlation, but other factors are implicated as well. Overall, the results suggest that the temperature-dependent co-emission of water vapor through evapotranspiration and SOA precursor-VOCs by vegetation may be an important process contributing to SOA in some environments.
Correlations between water-soluble organic aerosol and water vapor: a synergistic effect from biogenic emissions?