Vertical distribution of isoprene in the lower boundary layer of the rural and urban southern United States

C. Andronache, W. L. Chameides, M. O. Rodgers, and J. Martinez
School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

P. Zimmerman and J. Greenberg
Atmospheric Chemistry Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

Abstract. An analysis is presented of vertical profiles of isoprene concentration and meteorological parameters measured in the boundary layer (BL) during the daylight hours at a rural site in Alabama and an urban site in Atlanta, Georgia, during the summer of 1990, as part of the Southern Oxidants Study. Of the 37 isoprene profiles recorded at the sites, 16 exhibited complex vertical structure with local maxima within the BL. This complex vertical structure appears to arise from a variety of turbulent processes fostered by horizontal inhomogeneities hi the surface emissions of isoprene and by the transient appearance of layers of strong wind shear and/or vertical stability within the BL. A statistical analysis of the data suggests that the complex features observed hi the individual profiles are stochastic hi nature and tend to cancel out upon averaging over all profiles. Nevertheless, these complex structures can confound attempts to infer the BL abundance of a short-lived hydrocarbon like isoprene from a set of measurements at a single height. Our calculations suggest that measurements made at a height of 40 - 100 m above the surface will yield the most reliable measure of average BL concentrations of reactive hydrocarbons.

Copyright 1994 by the American Geophysical Union.

Related links:

  • Southern Oxidants Study (SOS)
  • Comparison of Modeled versus Observed Isoprene
  • Air Resources Laboratory (ARL)
  • Program for Research on Oxidants: PHotochemistry, Emissions, and Transport (PROPHET)