Articles | Volume 18, issue 14
Research article
23 Jul 2018
Research article |  | 23 Jul 2018

Observations of sesquiterpenes and their oxidation products in central Amazonia during the wet and dry seasons

Lindsay D. Yee, Gabriel Isaacman-VanWertz, Rebecca A. Wernis, Meng Meng, Ventura Rivera, Nathan M. Kreisberg, Susanne V. Hering, Mads S. Bering, Marianne Glasius, Mary Alice Upshur, Ariana Gray Bé, Regan J. Thomson, Franz M. Geiger, John H. Offenberg, Michael Lewandowski, Ivan Kourtchev, Markus Kalberer, Suzane de Sá, Scot T. Martin, M. Lizabeth Alexander, Brett B. Palm, Weiwei Hu, Pedro Campuzano-Jost, Douglas A. Day, Jose L. Jimenez, Yingjun Liu, Karena A. McKinney, Paulo Artaxo, Juarez Viegas, Antonio Manzi, Maria B. Oliveira, Rodrigo de Souza, Luiz A. T. Machado, Karla Longo, and Allen H. Goldstein

Abstract. Biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) from the Amazon forest region represent the largest source of organic carbon emissions to the atmosphere globally. These BVOC emissions dominantly consist of volatile and intermediate-volatility terpenoid compounds that undergo chemical transformations in the atmosphere to form oxygenated condensable gases and secondary organic aerosol (SOA). We collected quartz filter samples with 12 h time resolution and performed hourly in situ measurements with a semi-volatile thermal desorption aerosol gas chromatograph (SV-TAG) at a rural site (T3) located to the west of the urban center of Manaus, Brazil as part of the Green Ocean Amazon (GoAmazon2014/5) field campaign to measure intermediate-volatility and semi-volatile BVOCs and their oxidation products during the wet and dry seasons. We speciated and quantified 30 sesquiterpenes and 4 diterpenes with mean concentrations in the range 0.01–6.04 ng m−3 (1–670 ppqv). We estimate that sesquiterpenes contribute approximately 14 and 12 % to the total reactive loss of O3 via reaction with isoprene or terpenes during the wet and dry seasons, respectively. This is reduced from  ∼  50–70 % for within-canopy reactive O3 loss attributed to the ozonolysis of highly reactive sesquiterpenes (e.g., β-caryophyllene) that are reacted away before reaching our measurement site. We further identify a suite of their oxidation products in the gas and particle phases and explore their role in biogenic SOA formation in the central Amazon region. Synthesized authentic standards were also used to quantify gas- and particle-phase oxidation products derived from β-caryophyllene. Using tracer-based scaling methods for these products, we roughly estimate that sesquiterpene oxidation contributes at least 0.4–5 % (median 1 %) of total submicron OA mass. However, this is likely a low-end estimate, as evidence for additional unaccounted sesquiterpenes and their oxidation products clearly exists. By comparing our field data to laboratory-based sesquiterpene oxidation experiments we confirm that more than 40 additional observed compounds produced through sesquiterpene oxidation are present in Amazonian SOA, warranting further efforts towards more complete quantification.

Short summary
Biogenic volatile organic compounds react in the atmosphere to form secondary organic aerosol, yet the chemical pathways remain unclear. We collected filter samples and deployed a semi-volatile thermal desorption aerosol gas chromatograph in the central Amazon. We measured 30 sesquiterpenes and 4 diterpenes and find them to be important for reactive ozone loss. We estimate that sesquiterpene oxidation contributes at least 0.4–5 % (median 1 %) of observed submicron organic aerosol mass.
Final-revised paper