Carbonyl sulfide as an inverse tracer for biogenic organic carbon in gas and aerosol phases

J. A. De Gouw, C. Warneke, S. A. Montzka, J. S. Holloway, D. D. Parrish, F. C. Fehsenfeld, E. L. Atlas, R. J. Weber, F. M. Flocke

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9 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL05804
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 16 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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