Interannual variability of summertime formaldehyde (HCHO) vertical column density and its main drivers at northern high latitudes

Zhao, Tianlang; Mao, Jingqiu; Ayazpour, Zolal; González Abad, Gonzalo; Nowlan, Caroline R.; Zheng, Yiqi

The northern high latitudes (50–90° N, mostly including boreal-forest and tundra ecosystems) have been undergoing rapid climate and ecological changes over recent decades, leading to significant variations in volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions from biogenic and biomass burning sources. Formaldehyde (HCHO) is an indicator of VOC emissions, but the interannual variability of HCHO and its main drivers over the region remains unclear. In this study, we use the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model and satellite retrievals from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) to examine the interannual variability of HCHO vertical column density (VCD) during the summer seasons spanning from 2005 to 2019. Our results show that, in 2005–2019 summers, wildfires contributed 75 %–90 % of the interannual variability of HCHO VCD over Siberia, Alaska and northern Canada, while biogenic emissions and background methane oxidation account for inline-formula∼ 90 % of HCHO interannual variability over eastern Europe. We find that monthly solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), an efficient proxy for plant photosynthesis, shows a good linear relationship (inline-formulaR= 0.6–0.7) with the modeled biogenic HCHO column (dVCDinline-formulaBio,GC) in eastern Europe, Siberia, Alaska and northern Canada, indicating the coupling between SIF and biogenic VOC emissions over the four domains on a monthly scale. In Alaska, Siberia and northern Canada, SIF and dVCDinline-formulaBio,GC both show relatively lower interannual variabilities (SIF: CV inline-formula= 1 %–9 %, dVCDinline-formulaBio,GC: CV inline-formula= 1 %–2 %; note that CV stands for coefficient of variation) in comparison to wildfire-induced HCHO (CV inline-formula= 8 %–13 %), suggesting that the high interannual variabilities of OMI HCHO VCD (CV inline-formula= 10 %–16 %) in these domains are likely driven by wildfires instead of biogenic emissions.

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Zhao, Tianlang / Mao, Jingqiu / Ayazpour, Zolal / et al: Interannual variability of summertime formaldehyde (HCHO) vertical column density and its main drivers at northern high latitudes. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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