Articles | Volume 15, issue 6
Research article
25 Mar 2015
Research article |  | 25 Mar 2015

Diel and seasonal changes of biogenic volatile organic compounds within and above an Amazonian rainforest

A. M. Yáñez-Serrano, A. C. Nölscher, J. Williams, S. Wolff, E. Alves, G. A. Martins, E. Bourtsoukidis, J. Brito, K. Jardine, P. Artaxo, and J. Kesselmeier

Abstract. The Amazonian rainforest is a large tropical ecosystem, which is one of the last pristine continental terrains. This ecosystem is ideally located for the study of diel and seasonal behaviour of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) in the absence of local human interference. In this study, we report the first atmospheric BVOC measurements at the Amazonian Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) site, located in central Amazonia. A quadrupole proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometer (PTR-MS), with seven ambient air inlets, positioned from near ground to about 80 m (0.05, 0.5, 4, 24, 38, 53 and 79 m above the forest floor), was deployed for BVOC monitoring. We report diel and seasonal (February–March 2013 as wet season and September 2013 as dry season) ambient mixing ratios for isoprene, monoterpenes, isoprene oxidation products, acetaldehyde, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), methanol and acetonitrile. Clear diel and seasonal patterns were observed for all compounds. In general, lower mixing ratios were observed during night, while maximum mixing ratios were observed during the wet season (February–March 2013), with the peak in solar irradiation at 12:00 LT (local time) and during the dry season (September 2013) with the peak in temperature at 16:00 LT. Isoprene and monoterpene mixing ratios were the highest within the canopy with a median of 7.6 and 1 ppb, respectively (interquartile range (IQR) of 6.1 and 0.38 ppb) during the dry season (at 24 m, from 12:00 to 15:00 LT). The increased contribution of oxygenated volatile organic compounds (OVOCs) above the canopy indicated a transition from dominating forest emissions during the wet season (when mixing ratios were higher than within the canopy), to a blend of biogenic emission, photochemical production and advection during the dry season when mixing ratios were higher above the canopy. Our observations suggest strong seasonal interactions between environmental (insolation, temperature) and biological (phenology) drivers of leaf BVOC emissions and atmospheric chemistry. Considerable differences in the magnitude of BVOC mixing ratios, as compared to other reports of Amazonian BVOC, demonstrate the need for long-term observations at different sites and more standardized measurement procedures, in order to better characterize the natural exchange of BVOCs between the Amazonian rainforest and the atmosphere.

Final-revised paper