1Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, LA1 4YQ, UK
2Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Bush Estate, Penicuik, EH26 0QB, UK
3School of Chemistry, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, EH9 3JJ, UK
4Retired, formerly at Malaysian Meteorological Department, Jalan Sultan, Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
Abstract. As part of the OP3 field study of rainforest atmospheric chemistry, above-canopy fluxes of isoprene, monoterpenes and oxygenated volatile organic compounds were made by virtual disjunct eddy covariance from a South-East Asian tropical rainforest in Malaysia. Approximately 500 hours of flux data were collected over 48 days in April–May and June–July 2008. Isoprene was the dominant non-methane hydrocarbon emitted from the forest, accounting for 80% (as carbon) of the measured emission of reactive carbon fluxes. Total monoterpene emissions accounted for 18% of the measured reactive carbon flux. Monoterpenes were not emitted at night, and during the day their flux rate was dependent on both light and temperature. The oxygenated compounds, including methanol, acetone and acetaldehyde, contributed less than 2% of the total measured reactive carbon flux. The sum of the VOC fluxes measured represents a 0.4% loss of daytime assimilated carbon by the canopy, but atmospheric chemistry box modelling suggests that most (90%) of this reactive carbon is returned back to the canopy by wet and dry deposition following chemical transformation. The emission rates of isoprene and monoterpenes, normalised to 30 °C and 1000 μmol m−2 s−1 PAR, were 1.6 mg m−2 h−1 and 0.46 mg m−2 h−1 respectively, which was 4 and 1.7 times lower respectively than the default value for tropical forests in the widely-used MEGAN model of biogenic VOC emissions. This highlights the need for more direct canopy-scale flux measurements of VOCs from the world's tropical forests.