Articles | Volume 12, issue 1
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 577–590, 2012
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 577–590, 2012

Research article 11 Jan 2012

Research article | 11 Jan 2012

Abiotic and biotic control of methanol exchanges in a temperate mixed forest

Q. Laffineur1, M. Aubinet1, N. Schoon2, C. Amelynck2, J.-F. Müller2, J. Dewulf3, H. Van Langenhove3, K. Steppe4, and B. Heinesch1 Q. Laffineur et al.
  • 1Unité de Physique des Biosystèmes, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège, Avenue de la Faculté d'Agronomie 8, 5030 Gembloux, Belgium
  • 2Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, Ringlaan-3-Avenue Circulaire, 1180 Brussels, Belgium
  • 3Research Group Environmental Organic Chemistry and Technology, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, 9000 Gent, Belgium
  • 4Laboratory of Plant Ecology, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, 9000 Gent, Belgium

Abstract. Methanol exchanges over a mixed temperate forest in the Belgian Ardennes were measured for more than one vegetation season using disjunct eddy-covariance by a mass scanning technique and Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS). Half-hourly methanol fluxes were measured in the range of −0.6 μg m−2 s−1 to 0.6 μg m−2 s−1, and net daily methanol fluxes were generally negative in summer and autumn and positive in spring. On average, the negative fluxes dominated (i.e. the site behaved as a net sink), in contrast to what had been found in previous studies.

An original model describing the adsorption/desorption of methanol in water films present in the forest ecosystem and the methanol degradation process was developed. Its calibration, based on field measurements, predicted a mean methanol degradation rate of −0.0074 μg m−2 s−1 and a half lifetime for methanol in water films of 57.4 h. Biogenic emissions dominated the exchange only in spring, with a standard emission factor of 0.76 μg m−2 s−1.

The great ability of the model to reproduce the long-term evolution, as well as the diurnal variation of the fluxes, suggests that the adsorption/desorption and degradation processes play an important role in the global methanol budget. This result underlines the need to conduct long-term measurements in order to accurately capture these processes and to better estimate methanol fluxes at the ecosystem scale.

Final-revised paper