Organic aerosols comprise a significant fraction of the total atmospheric particle loading and are associated with radiative forcing and health impacts. Ambient organic aerosol concentrations contain both a primary and secondary component. Herein, fractional aerosol coefficients (FAC) are used in conjunction with measurements of volatile organic compounds (VOC) to predict the formation potential of secondary organic aerosols (SOA) in the Lower Fraser Valley (LEV) of British Columbia. The predicted concentrations of SOA show reasonable accord with ambient aerosol measurements and indicate considerable seasonal variability in SOA potential. Particulate carbon contributes only approx. 3% of total carbon concentrations in the LFV, and it is shown that variability in total carbon concentrations is significantly larger than variability in gas/particle partitioning. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science B.V.