Trace gas emissions from Amazonia influence secondary organic aerosol (CLAIRE-UK)

Lead Research Organisation: NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Department Name: Dise

Abstract

The Amazonian tropical rainforest in South America is an area of the world which is receiving significant pressures at present. Driven by economical growth in the region, deforestation is ongoing, which leads to conversion of primary forest for agriculture and large fires affecting the chemical composition and pollution in the region. At the same time, the most recent generation of climate models suggest that climate change will have dramatic consequences in the region and that the Amazonian rainforest is threatened by drying out as the water balance in the region changes. This not only has important consequences for the region itself. Through so-called teleconnection in the climate system, changes in the functioning of the Amazon rainforest is linked to changes in climate elsewhere on the planet. The Amazon rainforest does not just transport large amounts of water and energy back into the atmosphere, which affect the climate, it also emits large quantities of volatile organic compounds and, probably, ammonia, which react in the atmosphere, leading to the production of oxidants and particles. These particles provide the condensation nuclei for cloud droplet formation which regulate precipitation patterns in the region, change the weather and thus feed back onto the emissions. However, emissions and particle formation mechanisms are currently poorly understood. An understanding of the current emission and air chemistry in the region and its response to changes in meteorological drivers is needed to parametrise these processes in climate models to improve the rebustness of future climate predictions. Previous measurements with the research programme Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA) have indicated that the air chemistry in remote regions of the Amazon is one of the least disturbed on the planet, if influences of biomass burning can be avoided. Thus we still have the chance to study the cycling of trace gases and aerosols, their effect on the regional climate and their responses to climatic drivers in a fairly undisturbed environment. This proposed project aims to add UK measurements to two major international field campaigns with up to 15 partner institutes in the remote Amazon rainforest to quantify the emissions of trace gases and aerosols, and their controls, and to study the chemical interactions within and above the tree canopy, with emphasis on the quantification of particle production. The measurements will be used to improve our capability to numerically simulate chemistry and transport of air pollutants in this important region of the world.

Publications

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Jardine K (2015) Dimethyl sulfide in the Amazon rain forest DMS in the Amazon in Global Biogeochemical Cycles

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Langford B (2014) Out of the laboratory and into the Amazon in Planet Earth

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Langford B.; House E.; Detournay A.; Derbyshire E.; Farmer D.; Kimmel J.R.; Jimenez J.L.; Artaxo P.; Nemitz E. Seasonal variation in concentrations and fluxes of submicron aerosol chemical components above Amazonian rainforest

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Levine J (2014) Sea salt as an ice core proxy for past sea ice extent: A process-based model study in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

 
Description The project has produced the first year-long dataset of isoprene emission fluxes from the Amazon rainforest. Isoprene is involved in atmospheric chemistry, contributing to the formation of ozone and secondary organic particulate matter.
The results show that the isoprene emission factor of the vegetation is less variable than previous assumed and that most seasonal variability derives from changes in meteorology rather than plant function. They also show the variability of the fate of the emitted isoprene over the year, as seasonal changes in atmospheric composition (mainly in response to biomass burning activities in the dry season) result in changes in isoprene chemistry.
Exploitation Route The findings will be used by chemistry and climate models and will improve their ability to predict future climate change.
Sectors Environment,Other

 
Description Until recently, surface / atmosphere exchange fluxes (emission / deposition) of particles could only be derived from particle number measurements (without information on chemical composition) or from gradient measurements, with is an indirect approach, subject to large errors. Under the NERC COSMAS programme we started the development of the first eddy-covariance system for chemical components, based on aerosol mass spectrometry and succeeded in measuring fluxes of nitrate, sulphate and some organic compounds. Following the introduction of a new generation of aerosol mass spectrometer, based on time-of-flight mass spectrometer, we have now completed the development of the next generation flux instrument and associated data processing routines. This has led to a much improved signal / noise ratio and additional capability of measuring fluxes of ammonium, fully quantitative organic aerosol fluxes and providing information on organic aerosol sources. Beneficiaries: The researcher benefited immediately, by being able to conduct research with this setup. Several flux datasets have been acquired and are being processed with the new data analysis package. A prototype has led to two papers and the new system will lead to many more. The scientific findings from the instrument will lead to a much improved understanding of the deposition of aerosols. First results have already led to the revision of the nitrate aerosol deposition velocity in the EMEP Chemical Transport Model, which is underpins European policy on emissions and ecosystem protection. Results from the study have highlighted the importance of anthropogenic emissions in controlling air chemistry even in what used to be considered remote regions of the Amazon. Even at low additional concentrations of NOx the isoprene chemistry is changed in a way that affects ozone and secondary organic aerosol formation.
Sector Environment
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Title Annual dataset of VOC fluxes above the Amazon 
Description Concentrations and fluxes of selected volatile organic compounds (with emphasis on isoprene) measured above the Amazon. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Understanding of seasonality in isoprene emission from Amazonian rain forest and their controls. 
 
Title PM1 aerosol chemical composition above Amazon rainforest 
Description Aerosol composition measured by Aerosol Mass Spectrometry above the Amazon rainforest 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Understanding of aerosol composition above the Amazon rainforest and their controls (ongoing). 
 
Description Jointly funded PhD studentship to investigate surface/atmosphere exchange of inorganic gases and aerosols above tropical rainforest 
Organisation Max Planck Society
Country Germany 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The project has resulted in the initiation of a PhD studentship, jointly funded between Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (MPIC), the University of Edinburgh and NERC-CEH, that has started to take the project work further. CEH is hosting the studentship and providing primary supervision and providing the instrumentation.
Collaborator Contribution MPIC and Univ. Edinburgh are providing the funding and co-supervision; MPIC is providing access to the ATTO measurement site in Amazonia as well as site infrastructure.
Impact So far the studentship has resulted in an extension of the measurement apparatus for inorganic gases and aerosols to total organic carbon and nitrogen.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Jointly funded PhD studentship to investigate surface/atmosphere exchange of inorganic gases and aerosols above tropical rainforest 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Department School of Chemistry
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The project has resulted in the initiation of a PhD studentship, jointly funded between Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (MPIC), the University of Edinburgh and NERC-CEH, that has started to take the project work further. CEH is hosting the studentship and providing primary supervision and providing the instrumentation.
Collaborator Contribution MPIC and Univ. Edinburgh are providing the funding and co-supervision; MPIC is providing access to the ATTO measurement site in Amazonia as well as site infrastructure.
Impact So far the studentship has resulted in an extension of the measurement apparatus for inorganic gases and aerosols to total organic carbon and nitrogen.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Bioeconomy Workshop Manaus June 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact James Levine attended the following workshop in Manaus, Brazil. On 9 April 2014 George Osborne announced a new £375 million fund to support development through science and innovation.
Further details here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/375m-fund-to-promote-development-though-science-and-innovation-announced
Brazil's nominal allocation is £9m a year for five years, starting 2014-15, to be match-funded from Brazilian sources. Brazil's CONFAP has already committed £3 million of match funding.
The UK fund will be administered and disbursed by BIS's delivery partners, including the British Council and RCUK.
The Director of Science and Innovation (SIN) at the British Embassy, Brasilia, Caro Cowan, and the SIN Officer at the British Consulate in Sao Paulo, Rui Lopes, have been preparing for this opportunity for some weeks and, following local consultation, have identified three broad themes as being of particular interest to Brazil within the scheme: BioEconomy, Future Cities and Advanced Manufacturing.
SIN staff have secured separate funding to part-support a small preparation meeting at INPA in Manaus during the week June 2-6 2014. The objective of this meeting is to bring together UK and Brazilian scientists who might be interested to develop joint project proposals to compete for Brazil's allocation of Newton funding with a focus on BioEconomy. A preliminary draft list of potential research themes under this focus will be circulated separately.
SIN staff have invited RBG Kew to play a co-ordination role for UK input to this meeting, including identifying possible participants from the UK biodiversity science community and helping to develop the scientific programme for the meeting. INPA will be playing a similar role in Brazil as well as providing a venue and logistics for the meeting.
RBG Kew is now making informal approaches to relevant colleagues to assess levels of interest and availability for the meeting.
Potential participants who are interested and available for the dates in question, but who may need support to attend, are encouraged to e-mail Eimear el02kg@kew.org stating what support they would require and for what purpose (e.g. flights, accommodation).

Eimear Nic Lughadha
Senior Plant Diversity Scientist
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/news/375m-fund-to-promote-development-though-science-and-innovation-an...
 
Description Brazil delegate event at University of Birmingham 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact James Levine and Rob MacKenzie presented the work of CLAIRE-UK during a visit on Wednesday June 17th of the Universidade Federal do Reconcavo da Bahia (UFRB), Brazil consisting of Prof. Ana Fermino (PVC for Research and Postgraduate Studies), Prof. Franceli Silva (Research Coordinator) and Prof. Caline Gomes (Research Manager - Chemistry).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015