Articles | Volume 10, issue 19
05 Oct 2010
 | 05 Oct 2010

Aerosol fluxes and dynamics within and above a tropical rainforest in South-East Asia

J. D. Whitehead, M. W. Gallagher, J. R. Dorsey, N. Robinson, A. M. Gabey, H. Coe, G. McFiggans, M. J. Flynn, J. Ryder, E. Nemitz, and F. Davies

Abstract. Atmospheric aerosol measurements were conducted near Danum Valley, in the Malaysian state of Sabah, North-East Borneo, as part of the OP3 and ACES projects, in April and June/July 2008. Here, aerosol fluxes and diurnal variability in and above the rainforest canopy were examined in order to gain an understanding of their behaviour in the surface layer of the South-East Asian rainforest. Aerosol fluxes were calculated by eddy covariance from measurements above the rainforest canopy on the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) tower. Upward fluxes were seen on most mornings between 09:00 and 11:00 local time and this could be attributed to venting of the nocturnal boundary layer as it broke up in the morning. Measurements were also conducted within the canopy and trunk space at a nearby site. Profiles in aerosol number concentrations were investigated using GRIMM Optical Particle Counters (OPCs) at various levels within the rainforest canopy and trunk space, as well as a single OPC on a vertically moving platform. These showed an overnight increase in larger particles (1–20 μm) at all levels, but much more prominently near the top of the canopy, which could be attributed to fog formation. At ground level, number concentrations in this size range correlated with enhancements in biological aerosol concentrations, measured using a Wide Issue Bioaerosol Spectrometer (WIBS) located near the forest floor, suggesting that coarse particle number concentrations were dominated by biological aerosols. A comparison of particle number concentrations (in the size range 0.5–1.0 μm) between above canopy and the trunk space showed correlations, despite turbulence data suggesting persistent decoupling between the two measurement sites. These correlations often relied on a shift of the particle time-series against each other, implying a time delay in observations between the sites, which varied according to time of day. This lag time was shortest during the middle of the day by a significant margin. This was not observed for aerosols larger than 1.0 μm. Further evidence of daytime coupling between above canopy and the trunk space in terms of aerosol measurements is implied by comparison of measurements from an Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS) at the GAW tower and simultaneous bag sampling at the in-canopy site, subsequently analysed with the AMS. Transport of particles through the canopy seems to occur through large-scale, sporadic turbulent events, suggesting that the coupling between the canopy space and the air above is due to these ventilation events.

Final-revised paper