Articles | Volume 9, issue 11
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 3629–3640, 2009
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 3629–3640, 2009

  04 Jun 2009

04 Jun 2009

On inferring isoprene emission surface flux from atmospheric boundary layer concentration measurements

J. Vilà-Guerau de Arellano1, K. van den Dries1, and D. Pino2 J. Vilà-Guerau de Arellano et al.
  • 1Meteorology and Air Quality Section, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  • 2Applied Physics Department, Technical University of Catalonia and Institute for Space Studies of Catalonia, Spain

Abstract. We examine the dependence of the inferred isoprene surface emission flux from atmospheric concentration on the diurnal variability of the convective boundary layer (CBL). A series of systematic numerical experiments carried out using the mixed-layer technique enabled us to study the sensitivity of isoprene fluxes to the entrainment process, the partition of surface fluxes, the horizontal advection of warm/cold air masses and subsidence. Our findings demonstrate the key role played by the evolution of boundary layer height in modulating the retrieved isoprene flux. More specifically, inaccurate values of the potential temperature lapse rate lead to changes in the dilution capacity of the CBL and as a result the isoprene flux may be overestimated or underestimated by as much as 20%. The inferred emission flux estimated in the early morning hours is highly dependent on the accurate estimation of the discontinuity of the thermodynamic values between the residual layer and the rapidly forming CBL. Uncertainties associated with the partition of the sensible and latent heat flux also yield large deviations in the calculation of the isoprene surface flux. Similar results are obtained if we neglect the influence of warm or cold advection in the development of the CBL. We show that all the above-mentioned processes are non-linear, for which reason the dynamic and chemical evolutions of the CBL must be solved simultaneously. Based on the discussion of our results, we suggest the measurements needed to correctly apply the mixed-layer technique in order to minimize the uncertainties associated with the diurnal variability of the convective boundary layer.

Final-revised paper