A study of formaldehyde chemistry above a forest canopy

TitleA study of formaldehyde chemistry above a forest canopy
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsSumner ALouise, Shepson PB, Couch TL, Thornberry TDean, Carroll MAnne, Sillman S, Pippin MR, Bertman SB, Tan D, Faloona I, Brune WH, Young V, Cooper OR, Moody JL, Stockwell WR
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research

Gas-phase formaldehyde (HCHO) was measured at a mixed deciduous/coniferous forest site as a part of the PROPHET 1998 summer field intensive. For the measurement period of July 11 through August 20, 1998, formaldehyde mixing ratios ranged from 0.5 to 12 ppb at a height ~10 m above the forest canopy, with the highest concentrations observed in southeasterly air masses. Concentrations varied on average from a mid-afternoon maximum influenced by photochemical production of 4.0 ppb, to a late night minimum of 2.2 ppb, probably resulting from dry depositional loss. An analysis of local HCHO sources revealed that isoprene was the most important of the measured formaldehyde precursors, contributing, on average, 82% of the calculated midday HCHO production rate. We calculate that the nighttime HCHO dry deposition velocity is 2.6 times that of ozone, or approximately 0.65 cm/s. In the daytime, photolysis, dry deposition, and reaction with hydroxyl radical (OH) are roughly equally important as loss processes. Explicit calculations of HCHO chemical behavior highlighted the probable importance of transport and surface deposition to understanding the diel behavior of formaldehyde.