News 12.10.2022

Scientists developed a new tool to study natural hydrocarbon emissions

Vegetation emits a large variety of hydrocarbons into the atmosphere. While many analytical methods are available to scientists to identify what they are, total reactivity methods allow researchers to assess if all reactive hydrocarbons emitted have been accounted for. A new instrument for the measurements of total ozone reactivity was developed as a collaboration between the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the University of Colorado.
photo: shutterstock.

Ozone is an important atmospheric oxidant. It reacts with various compounds, such as hydrocarbons who possess a carbon-carbon double (C=C) bond in their chemical structure. Many hydrocarbons emitted by vegetation into the atmosphere contain such a C=C bond. Thus, total ozone reactivity measurements are important to assess emissions emitted by vegetation.

A total ozone reactivity monitor (TORM) was developed in Dr. Arnaud P. Praplan’s Academy Research Fellow project in 2017–2022 at the Finnish Meteorological Institute in collaboration with Dr. Detlev Helmig’s group at the University of Colorado.

TORM relies on the idea to use a modified ozone monitor to directly measure the decay of a predefined amount of ozone through a reactor when mixed with emissions from vegetation. Technical details and characterization of TORM are described in a recent publication in the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques.

Several campaigns have been performed with TORM so far. Results comparing the expected ozone reactivity from the identified emissions and the measured total reactivity will be the subject of upcoming publications. These findings will help to develop atmospheric chemistry modelling of natural hydrocarbons.

Further information:

Senior scientist Arnaud P. Praplan, Finnish Meteorological Institute,

Scientific article is available from Atmospheric Measurement Techniques

Publication: Helmig, D., Guenther, A., Hueber, J., Daly, R., Wang, W., Park, J.-H., Liikanen, A., and Praplan, A. P. (2022). Ozone reactivity measurement of biogenic volatile organic compound emissions. Atmos. Meas. Tech., 15, 5439–5454. doi:10.5194/amt-15-5439-2022.

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