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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 20 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 15451-15470, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-15451-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 26 Oct 2018

Research article | 26 Oct 2018

Primary emissions of glyoxal and methylglyoxal from laboratory measurements of open biomass burning

Kyle J. Zarzana1,2,a, Vanessa Selimovic3, Abigail R. Koss1,2,4,b, Kanako Sekimoto1,2,5, Matthew M. Coggon1,2, Bin Yuan1,2,c, William P. Dubé1,2, Robert J. Yokelson3, Carsten Warneke1,2, Joost A. de Gouw1,2,4, James M. Roberts1, and Steven S. Brown1,4 Kyle J. Zarzana et al.
  • 1NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) Chemical Sciences Division, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
  • 2Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
  • 3Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
  • 4Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
  • 5Graduate School of Nanobioscience, Yokohama City University, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-0027, Japan
  • anow at: Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
  • bnow at: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA
  • cnow at: Institute of Environment and Climate Research, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China

Abstract. We report the emissions of glyoxal and methylglyoxal from the open burning of biomass during the NOAA-led 2016 FIREX intensive at the Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, MT. Both compounds were measured using cavity-enhanced spectroscopy, which is both more sensitive and more selective than methods previously used to determine emissions of these two compounds. A total of 75 burns were conducted, using 33 different fuels in 8 different categories, providing a far more comprehensive dataset for emissions than was previously available. Measurements of methylglyoxal using our instrument suffer from spectral interferences from several other species, and the values reported here are likely underestimates, possibly by as much as 70%. Methylglyoxal emissions were 2–3 times higher than glyoxal emissions on a molar basis, in contrast to previous studies that report methylglyoxal emissions lower than glyoxal emissions. Methylglyoxal emission ratios for all fuels averaged 3.6±2.4ppbv methylglyoxal(ppmv CO)−1, while emission factors averaged 0.66±0.50g methylglyoxal(kg fuel burned)−1. Primary emissions of glyoxal from biomass burning were much lower than previous laboratory measurements but consistent with recent measurements from aircraft. Glyoxal emission ratios for all fuels averaged 1.4±0.7ppbv glyoxal(ppmv CO)−1, while emission factors averaged 0.20±0.12g glyoxal(kg fuel burned)−1, values that are at least a factor of 4 lower than assumed in previous estimates of the global glyoxal budget. While there was significant variability in the glyoxal emission ratios and factors between the different fuel groups, glyoxal and formaldehyde were highly correlated during the course of any given fire, and the ratio of glyoxal to formaldehyde, RGF, was consistent across many different fuel types, with an average value of 0.068±0.018. While RGF values for fresh emissions were consistent across many fuel types, further work is required to determine how this value changes as the emissions age.

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Emissions of glyoxal and methylglyoxal from fuels common to the western United States were measured using cavity-enhanced spectroscopy, which provides a more selective measurement of those compounds than was previously available. Primary emissions of glyoxal were lower than previously reported and showed variability between the different fuel groups. However, emissions of glyoxal relative to formaldehyde were constant across almost all the fuel groups at 6 %–7 %.
Emissions of glyoxal and methylglyoxal from fuels common to the western United States were...
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