12 Feb 2021

12 Feb 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Global and regional impacts of land cover changes on isoprene emissions derived from spaceborne data and the MEGAN model

Beata Opacka1, Jean-François Müller1, Trissevgeni Stavrakou1, Maite Bauwens1, Katerina Sindelarova2, Jana Markova2,3, and Alex B. Guenther4 Beata Opacka et al.
  • 1Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), Avenue Circulaire 3, 1180 Brussels, Belgium
  • 2Charles University in Prague, Department of Atmospheric Physics, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 3Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMI), Na Šabatce 17, 14306, Prague 4, Czech Republic
  • 4Department of Earth System Science, University of California Irvine, 92697, California, USA

Abstract. Among the biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) emitted by plant foliage, isoprene is by far the most important in terms of both global emission and atmospheric impact. It is highly reactive in the air, and its degradation favours the generation of ozone (in presence of NOx) and secondary organic aerosols. A critical aspect of BVOC emission modelling is the representation of land use and land cover (LULC). The current emission inventories are usually based on land cover maps that are either modelled and dynamic or satellite-based and static. In this study, we use the state-of-the-art MEGAN model coupled with the canopy model MOHYCAN to generate and evaluate emission inventories relying on satellite-based LULC maps at annual time steps. To this purpose, we first intercompare the distribution and evolution (2001–2016) of tree coverage from three global satellite-based datasets, MODIS, ESA CCI-Land Cover (ESA CCI-LC) and the Global Forest Watch (GFW), and from national inventories. Substantial differences are found between the datasets, e.g. the global areal coverage of trees ranges from 30 to 50 Mkm2, with trends spanning from −0.26 % yr−1 to +0.03 % yr−1 between 2001 and 2016. At national level, the increasing trends in forest cover reported by some national inventories (in particular for the US) are contradicted by all remotely-sensed datasets. Three inventories of isoprene emissions are generated, differing only in their LULC datasets used as input: (i) the static distribution of the stand-alone version of MEGAN, (ii) the time-dependent MODIS land cover dataset, and (iii) the MODIS dataset modified to match the tree cover distribution from the GFW database. The mean annual isoprene emissions (350–520 Tg yr−1) span a wide range due to differences in tree distributions, especially in isoprene-rich regions. The impact of LULC changes is a mitigating effect ranging from 0.04 to 0.33 % yr−1 on the positive trends (0.94 % yr−1) mainly driven by temperature and solar radiation. This study highlights the uncertainty in spatial distributions and temporal variability of isoprene associated to remotely-sensed LULC datasets. The interannual variability of the emissions is evaluated against spaceborne observations of formaldehyde (HCHO), a major isoprene oxidation product, through simulations using the global chemistry-transport model (CTM) IMAGESv2. A high correlation (R > 0.8) is found between the observed and simulated interannual variability of HCHO columns in most forested regions. The implementation of LULC change has little impact on this correlation, due to the dominance of meteorology as driver of short-term interannual variability. Nevertheless, the simulation accounting for the large tree cover declines of the GFW database over several regions, notably Indonesia and Mato Grosso in Brazil, provides the best agreement with the HCHO column trends observed by OMI. Overall, our study indicates that the continuous tree cover fields at fine resolution provided by the GFW database are our preferred choice for constraining LULC (in combination with discrete LULC maps such as those of MODIS) in biogenic isoprene emission models.

Beata Opacka et al.

Status: open (until 09 Apr 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Beata Opacka et al.

Data sets

MEGAN-MOHYCAN global isoprene emissions accounting for space-based land cover changes [ALBERI dataset] Opacka, Beata and Müller, Jean-François

Beata Opacka et al.


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Short summary
Isoprene is primarily emitted from plants and about 80 % of its global emissions occur in the Tropics. Current isoprene inventories are usually based on modelled vegetation maps. But high pressure on land use over the last decades lead to severe losses, especially in tropical forests, that are not considered by models. We provide a study on the present-day impact of spaceborne land cover changes on isoprene emissions and the first inventory based on high-resolution Landsat tree cover dataset.