Journal article

FTIR time-series of biomass burning products (HCN, C2H6, C2H2, CH3OH, and HCOOH) at Reunion Island (21° S, 55° E) and comparisons with model data

Vigouroux C, Stavrakou T, Whaley C, Dils B, Duflot V, Hermans C, Kumps N, Metzger J, Scolas F, Vanhaelewyn G, Müller J, Jones D, Li Q, De Mazière M ...see all

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 12, issue 21 (2012) pp. 10367-10385

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Reunion Island (21 degrees S, 55 degrees E), situated in the Indian
Ocean at about 800 km east of Madagascar, is appropriately located to
monitor the outflow of biomass burning pollution from Southern Africa
and Madagascar, in the case of short-lived compounds, and from other
Southern Hemispheric landmasses such as South America, in the case of
longer-lived species. Ground-based Fourier transform infrared (FTIR)
solar absorption observations are sensitive to a large number of biomass
burning products. We present in this work the FTIR retrieval strategies,
suitable for very humid sites such as Reunion Island, for hydrogen
cyanide (HCN), ethane (C2H6), acetylene (C2H2), methanol (CH3OH), and
formic acid (HCOOH). We provide their total columns time-series obtained
from the measurements during August-October 2004, May-October 2007, and
May 2009-December 2010. We show that biomass burning explains a large
part of the observed seasonal and interannual variability of the
chemical species. The correlations between the daily mean total columns
of each of the species and those of CO, also measured with our FTIR
spectrometer at Reunion Island, are very good from August to November (R
>= 0.86). This allows us to derive, for that period, the following
enhancement ratios with respect to CO: 0.0047, 0.0078, 0.0020, 0.012,
and 0.0046 for HCN, C2H6, C2H2, CH3OH, and HCOOH, respectively. The HCN
ground-based data are compared to the chemical transport model
GEOS-Chem, while the data for the other species are compared to the
IMAGESv2 model. We show that using the HCN/CO ratio derived from our
measurements (0.0047) in GEOS-Chem reduces the underestimation of the
modeled HCN columns compared with the FTIR measurements. The comparisons
between IMAGESv2 and the long-lived species C2H6 and C2H2 indicate that
the biomass burning emissions used in the model (from the GFED3
inventory) are probably underestimated in the late September-October
period for all years of measurements, and especially in 2004. The
comparisons with the short-lived species, CH3OH and HCOOH, with
lifetimes of around 5 days, suggest that the emission underestimation in
late September-October 2004, occurs more specifically in the
Southeastern Africa-Madagascar region. The very good correlation of
CH3OH and HCOOH with CO suggests that, despite the dominance of the
biogenic source of these compounds on the global scale, biomass burning
is their major source at Reunion Island between August and November.

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  • C. Vigouroux

  • T. Stavrakou

  • C. Whaley

  • B. Dils

  • V. Duflot

  • C. Hermans

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