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Published April 15, 1999 | Published
Journal Article Open

Observation of gaseous and particulate products of monoterpene oxidation in forest atmospheres


Atmospheric oxidation of biogenic hydrocarbons, such as monoterpenes, is estimated to be a significant source of global aerosol. Whereas laboratory studies have established that photochemical oxidation of monoterpenes leads to aerosol formation, there are limited field studies detecting such oxidation products in ambient aerosols. Drawing on prior results of monoterpene product analysis under controlled smog chamber conditions, we have identified organic aerosol components attributable to monoterpene oxidation in two forest atmospheres, Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada, and Big Bear, San Bernardino National Forest, California, U.S.A. The major identified aerosol products derived from α-pinene and β-pinene oxidation include pinic acid, pinonic acid, norpinonic acid and its isomers, hydroxy pinonaldehydes, and pinonaldehyde, concentrations of which in the aerosol phase are in the sub ng m^(−3) range. Identification of oxidation products in atmospheric aerosol samples serves as direct evidence for aerosol formation from monoterpenes under ambient conditions.

Additional Information

© 1999 by the American Geophysical Union. (Received December 21, 1998; revised February 19, 1999; accepted February 26, 1999.) Paper number 1999GL900169. This work was supported by U.S. National Science Foundation grant ATM-9614105. We would like to thank J.F. Hopper for leading the Kejimkujik organic aerosol project, A. Pinette and A. J. Gallant for their technical assistance, and J. W. Bottenheim, T. A. Biesenthal, and W. R. Leaitch for data and helpful discussions.

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