Carbonyl sulfide (COS) is a long-lived trace gas in the atmosphere with an oceanic source and a surface sink through the uptake by vegetation and soils. We demonstrate the use of COS as an inverse tracer for the impact of biogenic emissions on an air mass including the formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). Using airborne data from the summer of 2004 over the northeastern U.S., we find that air masses with reduced COS in the continental boundary layer had on average higher mixing ratios of biogenic VOCs (isoprene, monoterpenes, methanol) and their photo-oxidation products (methacrolein, methyl vinyl ketone, methyl furan and MPAN, a peroxyacyl nitrate derived from isoprene). Measurements of water-soluble organic carbon were only weakly correlated with COS, indicating that SOA formation from biogenic precursors was a small contribution to the total.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)