Journal article

Emission ratio and isotopic signatures of molecular hydrogen emissions from tropical biomass burning

Haumann F, Batenburg A, Pieterse G, Gerbig C, Krol M, Röckmann T ...see all

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 13, issue 18 (2013) pp. 9401-9413

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In this study, we identify a biomass-burning signal in molecular
hydrogen (H-2) over the Amazonian tropical rainforest. To quantify this
signal, we measure the mixing ratios of H-2 and several other species as
well as the H-2 isotopic composition in air samples that were collected
in the BARCA (Balanco Atmosferico Regional de Carbono na Amazonia)
aircraft campaign during the dry season. We derive a relative H-2
emission ratio with respect to carbon monoxide (CO) of 0.31 +/- 0.04 ppb
ppb(-1) and an isotopic source signature of -280 +/- 41 parts per
thousand in the air masses influenced by tropical biomass burning. In
order to retrieve a clear source signal that is not influenced by the
soil uptake of H-2, we exclude samples from the atmospheric boundary
layer. This procedure is supported by data from a global chemistry
transport model. The Delta H-2/Delta CO emission ratio is significantly
lower than some earlier estimates for the tropical rainforest. In
addition, our results confirm the lower values of the previously
conflicting estimates of the H-2 isotopic source signature from biomass
burning. These values for the emission ratio and isotopic source
signatures of H-2 from tropical biomass burning can be used in future
bottom-up and top-down approaches aiming to constrain the strength of
the biomass-burning source for H-2. Hitherto, these two quantities
relied only on combustion experiments or on statistical relations, since
no direct signal had been obtained from in-situ observations.

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