Articles | Volume 9, issue 15
11 Aug 2009
 | 11 Aug 2009

The influence of biogenic emissions from Africa on tropical tropospheric ozone during 2006: a global modeling study

J. E. Williams, M. P. Scheele, P. F. J. van Velthoven, J.-P. Cammas, V. Thouret, C. Galy-Lacaux, and A. Volz-Thomas

Abstract. We have performed simulations using a 3-D global chemistry-transport model to investigate the influence that biogenic emissions from the African continent exert on the composition of the troposphere in the tropical region. For this purpose we have applied two recently developed biogenic emission inventories provided for use in large-scale global models (Granier et al., 2005; Lathière et al., 2006) whose seasonality and temporal distribution for biogenic emissions of isoprene, other volatile organic compounds and NO is markedly different. The use of the 12 year average values for biogenic emissions provided by Lathière et al. (2006) results in an increase in the amount of nitrogen sequestrated into longer lived reservoir compounds which contributes to the reduction in the tropospheric ozone burden in the tropics. The associated re-partitioning of nitrogen between PAN, HNO3 and organic nitrates also results in a ~5% increase in the loss of nitrogen by wet deposition. At a global scale there is a reduction in the oxidizing capacity of the model atmosphere which increases the atmospheric lifetimes of CH4 and CO by ~1.5% and ~4%, respectively. Comparisons against a range of different measurements indicate that applying the 12 year average of Lathière et al. (2006) improves the performance of TM4_AMMA for 2006 in the tropics. By the use of sensitivity studies we show that the release of NO from soils in Africa accounts for between ~2–45% of tropospheric ozone in the African troposphere, ~10% in the upper troposphere and between ~5–20% of the tropical tropospheric ozone column over the tropical Atlantic Ocean. The subsequent reduction in OH over the source regions allows enhanced transport of CO out of the region. For biogenic volatile organic C1 to C3 species released from Africa, the effects on tropical tropospheric ozone are rather limited, although this source contributes to the global burden of VOC by between ~2–4% and has a large influence on the organic composition of the troposphere over the tropical Atlantic Ocean.

Final-revised paper