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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 11
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 5369–5391, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 5369–5391, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 03 Jun 2014

Research article | 03 Jun 2014

Acetaldehyde exchange above a managed temperate mountain grassland

L. Hörtnagla,f,1, I. Bambergera,2, M. Grausb,c,2, T. M. Ruuskanene,2, R. Schnitzhofer2, M. Walserd,2, A. Unterberger2, A. Hansel2, and G. Wohlfahrt1 L. Hörtnagl et al.
  • 1Institute of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, Austria
  • 2Institute of Ion Physics and Applied Physics, University of Innsbruck, Austria
  • anow at: Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH-Zürich, Switzerland
  • bnow at: Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
  • cnow at: Chemical Sciences Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
  • dnow at: Engineering Exhaust Gas Sensors, Robert Bosch GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany
  • ecurrently at: Division of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • fInvited contribution by L. Hörtnagl, recipient of the EGU Outstanding Student Poster (OSP) Award 2011.

Abstract. An overview of acetaldehyde exchange above a managed temperate mountain grassland in Austria over four growing seasons is presented. The meadow acted as a net source of acetaldehyde in all 4 years, emitting between 7 and 28 mg C m−2 over the whole growing period. The cutting of the meadow resulted in huge acetaldehyde emission bursts of up to 16.5 nmol m−2 s−1 on the day of harvesting or 1 day later. During undisturbed conditions both periods with net uptake and net emissions of acetaldehyde were observed. The bidirectional nature of acetaldehyde fluxes was also reflected by clear diurnal cycles during certain time periods, indicating strong deposition processes before the first cut and emission towards the end of the growing season.

The analysis of acetaldehyde compensation points revealed a complex relationship between ambient acetaldehyde mixing ratios and respective fluxes, significantly influenced by multiple environmental parameters and variable throughout the year. As a major finding of this study, we identified both a positive and negative correlation between concentration and flux on a daily scale, where soil temperature and soil water content were the most significant factors in determining the direction of the slope. In turn, this bidirectional relationship on a daily scale resulted in compensation points between 0.40 and 0.54 ppbv, which could be well explained by collected ancillary data. We conclude that in order to model acetaldehyde fluxes at the site in Neustift on a daily scale over longer time periods, it is crucial to know the type of relationship, i.e., the direction of the slope, between mixing ratios and fluxes on a given day.

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