Seasonal and diel patterns of biogenic volatile organic compound fluxes in a subarctic tundra

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In arctic and subarctic regions, rapid climate changes enhance biogenic volatile organic compound (BVOC) emissions from vegetation, with potentially significant influence on atmospheric processes. However, the seasonal and diel patterns of bidirectional exchange (flux) of BVOCs remain poorly studied in these regions. Here, we deployed a proton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometer (PTR-TOF-MS) to investigate ecosystem-level BVOC fluxes over a growing season in a subarctic tundra heath in Abisko, Northern Sweden, and to quantify BVOC emissions from two widespread dwarf shrubs in the high latitudes, Salix myrsinites and Betula nana. As expected, ecosystem fluxes of short-chained oxygenated compounds (e.g., methanol, acetaldehyde and acetone) and terpenoids (e.g., isoprene, monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes) followed different seasonal and diel patterns. For the short-chained oxygenated compounds, net emissions dominated and peaked in the early growing season, while net deposition occurred sporadically, particularly at night. In contrast, terpenoids were almost exclusively emitted from the ecosystem, with maxima occurring in the peak growing season. At the branch level, these compound groups were emitted from both S. myrsinites and B. nana in clear diel patterns with high emissions during the day. S. myrsinites was dominated by isoprene emissions whilst B. nana was dominated by terpene emissions. Methanol, acetaldehyde and acetone were emitted at comparable levels and similar patterns from both species. Both ecosystem fluxes and branch emissions responded exponentially to enclosure temperature and depended on light levels. Compared to the BVOC emission models, however, the temperature responses were steeper for isoprene, monoterpenes, methanol and acetone, but weaker for sesquiterpenes. Apart from the well-known compounds, many other BVOCs, such as some carbonyls and nitrogen-containing compounds, were emitted from both the ecosystem and plants with significant contributions to the season variation in ecosystem fluxes. Overall, our study highlights the complexity of subarctic ecosystem BVOC fluxes, which vary both seasonally and diurnally. Vegetation composition changes triggered by climate change will shift BVOC composition, with important implications for atmospheric processes and local climate.

TidsskriftAtmospheric Environment
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - 2023

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