Articles | Volume 16, issue 12
Research article
01 Jul 2016
Research article |  | 01 Jul 2016

Anthropogenic and biogenic influence on VOC fluxes at an urban background site in Helsinki, Finland

Pekka Rantala, Leena Järvi, Risto Taipale, Terhi K. Laurila, Johanna Patokoski, Maija K. Kajos, Mona Kurppa, Sami Haapanala, Erkki Siivola, Tuukka Petäjä, Taina M. Ruuskanen, and Janne Rinne

Abstract. We measured volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) at an urban background site near the city centre of Helsinki, Finland, northern Europe. The VOC and CO2 measurements were obtained between January 2013 and September 2014 whereas for CO a shorter measurement campaign in April–May 2014 was conducted. Both anthropogenic and biogenic sources were identified for VOCs in the study. Strong correlations between VOC fluxes and CO fluxes and traffic rates indicated anthropogenic source of many VOCs. The VOC with the highest emission rate to the atmosphere was methanol, which originated mostly from traffic and other anthropogenic sources. The traffic was also a major source for aromatic compounds in all seasons whereas isoprene was mostly emitted from biogenic sources during summer. Some amount of traffic-related isoprene emissions were detected during other seasons but this might have also been an instrumental contamination from cycloalkane products. Generally, the observed VOC fluxes were found to be small in comparison with previous urban VOC flux studies. However, the differences were probably caused by lower anthropogenic activities as the CO2 fluxes were also relatively small at the site.

Short summary
Fluxes of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were measured above an urban landscape in Helsinki, northern Europe. We found that traffic was a major source for many oxygenated and aromatic VOCs, whereas isoprene originated mostly from the urban vegetation. Overall, the VOC fluxes were quite small in comparison with the earlier urban VOC flux measurements.
Final-revised paper