Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 26849-26865, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
The atmospheric potential of biogenic volatile organic compounds from needles of White Pine (Pinus strobus) in Northern Michigan
S. Toma and S. Bertman
Department of Chemistry, Western Michigan University, 3425 Wood Hall, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, USA

Abstract. The key role biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOC) play in atmospheric chemistry requires a detailed understanding of how BVOC concentrations will be affected by environmental change. Large-scale screening of ecosystems is difficult with enclosure methods. In this study, BVOC in needles of 71 white pine trees (Pinus strobus), which are becoming a large part of Midwest forests, are tracked for three summers at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS). α-pinene, the dominant terpene in all samples, accounts for 30–50% of all terpenes on a mole basis. The most abundant sesquiterpenoid was a C15 alcohol identified as germacrene-D-4-ol. The abundance of this material and its atmospheric relevance has not been considered previously. The relationship between limonene and α-pinene clearly shows two distinct trends in the population of these forests. About 15% of the trees showed high levels of limonene (up to 36% of the total BVOC) in the same trees every year. With this mixture, limonene contributes 11% of the α-pinene contribution to total gas-phase OH loss at UMBS compared to less than 2% considering the composition of the majority trees. Hence we show that chemotypic variation within forests can affect atmospheric chemistry and that large-scale screening of BVOC can be used effectively to study the importance of BVOC variation for predicting atmospheric chemistry in future forests.

Citation: Toma, S. and Bertman, S.: The atmospheric potential of biogenic volatile organic compounds from needles of White Pine (Pinus strobus) in Northern Michigan, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 26849-26865, doi:10.5194/acpd-11-26849-2011, 2011.
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