Articles | Volume 10, issue 6
Research article
 | Highlight paper
26 Jun 2013
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 26 Jun 2013

Seasonal measurements of total OH reactivity emission rates from Norway spruce in 2011

A.C. Nölscher, E. Bourtsoukidis, B. Bonn, J. Kesselmeier, J. Lelieveld, and J. Williams

Abstract. Numerous reactive volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted into the atmosphere by vegetation. Most biogenic VOCs are highly reactive towards the atmosphere's most important oxidant, the hydroxyl (OH) radical. One way to investigate the chemical interplay between biosphere and atmosphere is through the measurement of total OH reactivity, the total loss rate of OH radicals. This study presents the first determination of total OH reactivity emission rates (measurements via the comparative reactivity method) based on a branch cuvette enclosure system mounted on a Norway spruce (Picea abies) throughout spring, summer and autumn 2011. In parallel VOC emission rates were monitored by a second proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometer (PTR-MS), and total ozone (O3) loss rates were obtained inside the cuvette. Total OH reactivity emission rates were in general temperature and light dependent, showing strong diel cycles with highest values during daytime. Monoterpene emissions contributed most, accounting for 56–69% of the measured total OH reactivity flux in spring and early summer. However, during late summer and autumn the monoterpene contribution decreased to 11–16%. At this time, a large missing fraction of the total OH reactivity emission rate (70–84%) was found when compared to the VOC budget measured by PTR-MS. Total OH reactivity and missing total OH reactivity emission rates reached maximum values in late summer corresponding to the period of highest temperature. Total O3 loss rates within the closed cuvette showed similar diel profiles and comparable seasonality to the total OH reactivity fluxes.

Total OH reactivity fluxes were also compared to emissions from needle storage pools predicted by a temperature-only-dependent algorithm. Deviations of total OH reactivity fluxes from the temperature-only-dependent emission algorithm were observed for occasions of mechanical and heat stress. While for mechanical stress, induced by strong wind, measured VOCs could explain total OH reactivity emissions, during heat stress they could not. The temperature-driven algorithm matched the diel variation of total OH reactivity emission rates much better in spring than in summer, indicating a different production and emission scheme for summer and early autumn. During these times, unmeasured and possibly unknown primary biogenic emissions contributed significantly to the observed total OH reactivity flux.

Final-revised paper