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Tethered balloon measurements of biogenic VOCs in the atmospheric boundary layer


Biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) were measured on tethered balloon platforms in 11 deployments between 1985 and 1996. A series of balloon sampling packages have been used to describe boundary layer dynamics, BVOC distribution, chemical transformations of BVOCs, and to estimate BVOC emission rates from terrestrial vegetation. Measurements indicated a slow decrease of concentration for BVOCs with altitude in the mixed layer when sampling times were greater than average convective turnover time; surface layer concentrations were more variable because of proximity to various emission sources in the smaller surface layer footprint. Mixed layer concentrations of isoprene remained fairly constant in the middle of the day, in contrast to canopy-level isoprene concentrations, which continued to increase until early evening. Daytime emissions, which increase with temperature and light, appear to be balanced by changes in entrainment and oxidation. Daytime measurements of methacrolein and methyl vinyl ketone, reaction products of the atmospheric oxidation of isoprene, showed fairly constant ratio to each other with altitude throughout the mixed layer. BVOC emission flux estimates using balloon measurements and from the extrapolation of leaf level emissions to the landscape scale were in good agreement.

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