Articles | Volume 11, issue 20
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 10449–10459, 2011

Special issue: Atmospheric impacts of Eastern Asia megacities

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 10449–10459, 2011

Research article 20 Oct 2011

Research article | 20 Oct 2011

Effect of isoprene emissions from major forests on ozone formation in the city of Shanghai, China

F. Geng1, X. Tie2,3, A. Guenther3, G. Li4, J. Cao2, and P. Harley3 F. Geng et al.
  • 1Shanghai Meteorological Bureau, Shanghai, China
  • 2Institute of Earth and Environment, Chinese Academy of Science, Xi'an, China
  • 3National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 4Molina Center for Energy and the Environment, La Jolla, CA, USA

Abstract. Ambient surface level concentrations of isoprene (C5H8) were measured in the major forest regions located south of Shanghai, China. Because there is a large coverage of broad-leaved trees in this region, high concentrations of isoprene were measured, ranging from 1 to 6 ppbv. A regional dynamical/chemical model (WRF-Chem) is applied for studying the effect of such high concentrations of isoprene on the ozone production in the city of Shanghai. The evaluation of the model shows that the calculated isoprene concentrations agree with the measured concentrations when the measured isoprene concentrations are lower than 3 ppb, but underestimate the measurements when the measured values are higher than 3 ppb. Isoprene was underestimated only at sampling sites near large bamboo plantations, a high isoprene source, indicating the need to include geospatially resolved bamboo distributions in the biogenic emission model. The assessment of the impact of isoprene on ozone formation suggests that the concentrations of peroxy radicals (RO2) are significantly enhanced due to the oxidation of isoprene, with a maximum of 30 ppt. However, the enhancement of RO2 is confined to the forested regions. Because the concentrations of NOx were low in the forest regions, the ozone production due to the oxidation of isoprene (C5H8 + OH → → RO2 + NO → → O3) is low (less than 2–3 ppb h−1). The calculation further suggests that the oxidation of isoprene leads to the enhancement of carbonyls (such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde) in the regions downwind of the forests, due to continuous oxidation of isoprene in the forest air. As a result, the concentrations of HO2 radical are enhanced, resulting from the photo-disassociation of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. Because the enhancement of HO2 radical occurs in regions downwind of the forests, the enhancement of ozone production (6–8 ppb h−1) is higher than in the forest region, causing by higher anthropogenic emissions of NOx. This study suggests that the biogenic emissions in the major forests to the south of Shanghai have important impacts on the levels of ozone in the city, mainly due to the carbonyls produced by the continuous oxidation of isoprene in the forest air.

Final-revised paper