[Nolscher2012a] "A new method for total OH reactivity measurements using a fast Gas Chromatographic Photo-Ionization Detector (GC-PID)",
Atmospheric Measurement Techniques Discussions
, vol. 5, no. 3: Copernicus GmbH, pp. 3575–3609, 2012.
The primary and most important oxidant in the atmosphere is the hydroxyl radical (OH). Currently OH sinks, particularly gas phase reactions, are poorly constrained. One way to characterize the overall sink of OH is to measure directly the ambient loss rate of OH, the total OH reactivity. To date direct measurements of total OH reactivity have been either performed using a Laser Induced Fluorescence (LIF) system ("pump-and-probe" or "flow reactor") or the Comparative Reactivity Method (CRM) with a Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometer (PTR-MS). Both techniques require large, complex and expensive detection systems. This study presents a feasibility assessment for CRM total OH reactivity measurements using a new detector, a Gas Chromatographic Photo-Ionization Detector (GC-PID). Such a system is smaller, more portable, less power consuming and less expensive than other total OH reactivity measurement techniques. Total OH reactivity is measured by the CRM using a competitive reaction between a reagent (here pyrrole) with OH alone and in the presence of atmospheric reactive molecules. The new CRM method for total OH reactivity has been tested with parallel measurements of the GC-PID and the previously validated PTR-MS as detector for the reagent pyrrole during laboratory experiments, plant chamber and boreal field studies. Excellent agreement of both detectors was found when the GC-PID was operated under optimum conditions. Time resolution (60–70 s), sensitivity (LOD 3–6 s−1) and overall uncertainty (25% in optimum conditions) for total OH reactivity were equivalent to PTR-MS based total OH reactivity measurements. One drawback of the GC-PID system was the steady loss of sensitivity and accuracy during intensive measurements lasting several weeks, and a possible toluene interference. Generally, the GC-PID system has been shown to produce closely comparable results to the PTR-MS and thus in suitable environments (e.g. forests) it presents a viably economical alternative for groups interested in total OH reactivity observations.
[Nolscher2012] "Summertime total OH reactivity measurements from boreal forest during HUMPPA-COPEC 2010",
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
, vol. 12, no. 17: Copernicus GmbH, pp. 8257–8270, 2012.
Ambient total OH reactivity was measured at the Finnish boreal forest station SMEAR II in Hyytiälä (Latitude 61°51' N; Longitude 24°17' E) in July and August 2010 using the Comparative Reactivity Method (CRM). The CRM – total OH reactivity method – is a direct, in-situ determination of the total loss rate of hydroxyl radicals (OH) caused by all reactive species in air. During the intensive field campaign HUMPPA-COPEC 2010 (Hyytiälä United Measurements of Photochemistry and Particles in Air – Comprehensive Organic Precursor Emission and Concentration study) the total OH reactivity was monitored both inside (18 m) and directly above the forest canopy (24 m) for the first time. The comparison between these two total OH reactivity measurements, absolute values and the temporal variation have been analyzed here. Stable boundary layer conditions during night and turbulent mixing in the daytime induced low and high short-term variability, respectively. The impact on total OH reactivity from biogenic emissions and associated photochemical products was measured under "normal" and "stressed" (i.e. prolonged high temperature) conditions. The advection of biomass burning emissions to the site caused a marked change in the total OH reactivity vertical profile. By comparing the OH reactivity contribution from individually measured compounds and the directly measured total OH reactivity, the size of any unaccounted for or "missing" sink can be deduced for various atmospheric influences. For "normal" boreal conditions a missing OH reactivity of 58%, whereas for "stressed" boreal conditions a missing OH reactivity of 89% was determined. Various sources of not quantified OH reactive species are proposed as possible explanation for the high missing OH reactivity.