Isoprene suppression of new particle formation in mixed deciduous forest
1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242, USA
2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Washington State University, WA 99164, USA
3National Center for Atmospheric Research, Atmospheric Chemistry Division, Boulder, CO 80307, USA
4Department of Civil Engineering and Center for Environmental Engineering and Science, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur 208016, Uttar Pradesh, India
Abstract. Production of new particles over forests is an important source of cloud condensation nuclei that can affect climate. While such particle formation events have been widely observed, their formation mechanisms over forests are poorly understood. Our observations made in a mixed deciduous Michigan forest with large isoprene emissions during the summer show surprisingly rare occurrence of new particle formation (NPF). No NPF events were observed during the 5 weeks of measurements, except two evening ultrafine particle events as opposed to the typically observed noontime NPF elsewhere. Sulfuric acid concentrations were in the 106 cm−3 ranges with very low preexisting aerosol particles, a favorable condition for NPF to occur even during the summer. The ratio of emitted isoprene carbon to monoterpene carbon at this site was similar to that in Amazon rainforests (ratio >10), where NPF is also very rare, compared with a ratio <0.5 in Finland boreal forests, where NPF events are frequent. Our results showed that large isoprene emissions can suppress NPF formation in forests although the underlying mechanism for the suppression is unclear and future studies are needed to reveal the likely mechanism. The two evening ultrafine particle events were associated with the transported anthropogenic sulfur plumes and the ultrafine particles likely formed via ion induced nucleation. Changes in landcover and environmental conditions could modify the isoprene suppression of NPF in some forest regions resulting in a radiative forcing that could influence climate.