Articles | Volume 12, issue 1
Research article
11 Jan 2012
Research article |  | 11 Jan 2012

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

Q. Laffineur, M. Aubinet, N. Schoon, C. Amelynck, J.-F. Müller, J. Dewulf, H. Van Langenhove, K. Steppe, and B. Heinesch

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