On the use of plant emitted volatile organic compounds for atmospheric chemistry simulation experiments
Monday, 14 December 2015: 10:25
3004 (Moscone West)
Biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOC) contribute to about 90% of the emitted VOC globally with isoprene being one of the most abundant BVOC (Guenther 2002). Intensive efforts in studying and understanding the impact of BVOC on atmospheric chemistry were undertaken in the recent years. However many uncertainties remain, e.g. field studies have shown that in wooded areas measured OH reactivity can often not be explained by measured BVOC and their oxidation products (e.g. Noelscher et al. 2012). This discrepancy may be explained by either a lack of understanding of BVOC sources or insufficient understanding of BVOC oxidation mechanisms. Plants emit a complex VOC mixture containing likely many compounds which have not yet been measured or identified (Goldstein and Galbally 2007). A lack of understanding BVOC sources limits bottom-up estimates of secondary products of BVOC oxidation such as SOA. Similarly, the widespread oversimplification of atmospheric chemistry in simulation experiments, using single compound or simple BVOC mixtures to study atmospheric chemistry processes limit our ability to assess air quality and climate impacts of BVOC. We will present applications of the new extension PLUS (PLant chamber Unit for Simulation) to our atmosphere simulation chamber SAPHIR. PLUS is used to produce representative BVOC mixtures from direct plant emissions. We will report on the performance and characterization of the newly developed chamber. As an exemplary application, trees typical of a Boreal forest environment were used to compare OH reactivity as directly measured by LIF to the OH reactivity calculated from BVOC measured by GC-MS and PTRMS. The comparison was performed for both, primary emissions of trees without any influence of oxidizing agents and using different oxidation schemes. For the monoterpene emitters investigated here, we show that discrepancies between measured and calculated total OH reactivity increase with increasing degree of oxidation. Implications for field studies and needs for future research are discussed.