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Reassessment of biogenic volatile organic compound emissions in the Atlanta area


Localized estimates of biogenic volatile organic compound (BVOC) emissions are important inputs for photochemical oxidant simulation models. Since forest tree species are the primary emitters of BVOCs, it is important to develop reliable estimates of their areal coverage and BVOC emission rates. A new system is used to estimate these emissions in the Atlanta area for specific tree genera at hourly and county levels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis data and an associated urban vegetation survey are used to estimate canopy occupancy by genus in the Atlanta area. A simple canopy model is used to adjust photosynthetically active solar radiation at five vertical levels in the canopy. Lraf temperature and photosynthetically active radiation derived from ambient conditions above the forest canopy are then used to drive empirical equations to estimate genus level emission rates of BVOCs vertically through forest canopies. These genera-level estimates are then aggregated to county and regional levels for input into air quality models and for comparison with (1) the regulatory model currently used and (2) previous estimates for the Atlanta area by local researchers. Estimated hourly emissions from the three approaches during a documented ozone event day are compared. The proposed model yields peak diurnal isoprene emission rates that are over a factor of three times higher than previous estimates. This results in total BVOC emission rates that are roughly a factor of two times higher than previous estimates. These emissions are compared with observed emissions from forests of similar composition. Possible implications for oxidant events are discussed. © 1995.

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