Interpreting satellite column observations of formaldehyde over tropical South America

P.I. Palmer, M.P. Darkley, T.P. Kurosu, K. Chance, A.C. Lewis, J.E. Saxton, L.V. Gatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Space-borne column measurements of formaldehyde (ECHO), a high-yield oxidation product of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), represent important constraints for quantifying net regional fluxes of VOCs. Here, we interpret observed distributions of HCHO columns from the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) over tropical South America during 1997-2001. We present the first comparison of year-long in situ isoprene concentrations and fire-free GOME HCHO columns over a tropical ecosystem. GOME HCHO columns and in situ isoprene concentrations are elevated in the wet and dry seasons, with the highest values in the dry season. Previous analysis of the in situ data highlighted the possible role of drought in determining the elevated concentrations during the dry season, inferring the potential of HCHO columns to provide regional-scale constraints for estimating the role of drought on isoprene emissions. The agreement between the observed annual cycles of GOME HCHO columns and Along-Track Scanning Radiometer firecount data over the Amazon basin (correlations typically greater than 0.75 for a particular year) illustrates the potential of HCHO column to provide quantitative information about biomass burning emissions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1741-1751
Number of pages11
JournalPhilosophical Transactions A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number1856
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2007


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