Forest canopy interactions with nucleation mode particles
Abstract. Ultrafine particle size distributions through a deciduous forest canopy indicate that nucleation mode particle concentrations decline with depth into the canopy, such that number concentrations at the bottom of the canopy are an average of 16% lower than those at the top. However, growth rates of nucleation mode particles (diameters 6–30 nm) are invariant with height within the canopy, which implies that the semi-volatile gases contributing to their growth are comparatively well-mixed through the canopy. Growth rates of nucleation mode particles during a meteorological drought year (2012) were substantially lower than during a meteorologically normal year with high soil water potential (2013). This may reflect suppression of actual biogenic volatile organic compound (BVOC) emissions by drought and thus a reduction in the production of condensable products during the drought-affected vegetation season. This hypothesis is supported by evidence that growth rates during the normal year exhibit a positive correlation with emissions of BVOC modeled on observed forest composition, leaf area index, temperature and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), but particle growth rates during the drought-affected vegetation season are not correlated with modeled BVOC emissions. These data thus provide indirect evidence that drought stress in forests may reduce BVOC emissions and limit growth of nucleation mode particles to climate-relevant sizes.