Development of a reduced speciated VOC degradation mechanism for use in ozone models

M.E. Jenkin, Sam Saunders, R.G. Derwent, M.J. Pilling

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51 Citations (Scopus)


A reduced mechanism to describe the formation of ozone from VOC oxidation has been developed, using the master chemical mechanism (MCM v2) as a reference benchmark. The 'common representative intermediates' (CRI) mechanism treats the degradation of methane and 120 VOC using ca. 570 reactions of ca. 250 species (i.e. the emitted VOC plus an average of about one additional species per VOC). It thus contains only ca. 5% of the number of reactions. and ca. 7% of the number of chemical species in MCM v2, providing a computationally economical alternative. The CRI mechanism contains a series of generic intermediate radicals and products, which mediate the breakdown of larger VOC into smaller fragments (e.g., formaldehyde), the chemistry of which is treated explicitly. A key assumption in the mechanism construction methodology is that the potential for ozone formation from a given VOC is related to the number of reactive (i.e., C-C and C-H) bonds it contains, and it is this quantity which forms the basis of the generic intermediate groupings. Following a small degree of optimisation, the CRI mechanism is shown to generate levels of ozone, OH, peroxy radicals, NO and NO2 which are in excellent agreement with those calculated using MCM v2,, in simulations using a photochemical trajectory model applied previously to simulation of episodic ozone formation. The same model is used to calculate photochemical ozone creation potentials for 63 alkanes, alkenes, carbonyls and alcohols using both mechanisms. Those determined with the CRI mechanism show a variation from compound to compound which is remarkably consistent with that calculated with the detailed chemistry in MCM v2. This suggests that the CRI mechanism construction methodology is able to capture both the salient features of the ozone formation process in general, and how this varies from one VOC to another. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4725-4734
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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