News & Events

Grad student talk - An investigation of seasonality of biogenic volatile organic compound emissions

Thursday, November 11, 2010, 4:30PM - 5:30PM


Ryan Daly



RL-1 269

Full title: "An investigation into the seasonality of biogenic volatile organic compound emissions."

Vegetation naturally emit a variety of highly reactive hydrocarbon compounds, classified as biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOC), which are known to have large implications on atmospheric chemistry. Once released into the troposhpere, BVOC participate in reactive nitrogen, hydroxyl and ozone chemistry as well as secondary organic aerosol formation. The resulting air quality impacts warrant a thorough understanding of BVOC emission behavior, critical for effective regional modeling and legislative decision-making. This work aims to improve the database and algorithms used in biogenic emission models by examining the seasonal trends of two classes of BVOC, monoterpene (MT) and sesquiterpene (SQT) hydrocarbons. A field site established at a local tree nursery provided an opportunity to easily monitor the emissions of naturally growing vegetation throughout a growing season. The emission rates of five tree species native to Colorado forests were measured monthly between February 2009 and February 2010. Emissions were found to exhibit seasonal patterns with higher rates observed between spring and late summer, falling to a low through winter months. However, seasonal trends prove to be very complex with drastic variation in seasonal shape and strength for different vegetation species. These findings are discussed and call into question the methods used for calculating normalized emission rates used by atmospheric models.