Observations and modeling of formaldehyde at the PROPHET mixed hardwood forest site in 2008

Melissa M. Galloway, Joshua P. DiGangi, John R. Hottle, Andrew J. Huisman, Levi H. Mielke, Marjan Alaghmand, Paul B. Shepson, Joanna Weremijewicz, Hugh Klavon, Fredrick M. McNeal, Mary Anne Carroll, Stephen Griffith, Robert F. Hansen, Sebastien Dusanter, Philip S. Stevens, Steven B. Bertman, Frank N. Keutsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We report the first field measurements of gas-phase formaldehyde (HCHO) via laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) obtained August 1-8, 2008 at the PROPHET mixed hardwood forest site at the University of Michigan Biological Station. HCHO mixing ratios above the canopy ranged from a nighttime minimum of~0.5ppb v to afternoon maxima of ~4.2ppb v. Daytime HCHO mixing ratios were compared to two zero-dimensional box models: one based on the Master Chemical Mechanism v3.2 (MCM), the other using a simplified treatment of HCHO production. Both models over-predicted HCHO relative to observations. Sensitivity analyses demonstrated that increasing vertical dilution and/or decreasing OH concentrations would result in a significant reduction in this over-prediction for both models, as did reducing NO concentrations in the MCM based model. On average, the two models agreed to within 9%, though sensitivity analyses of changing NO and HO 2 concentrations result in significant deviation. This displays that modeled HCHO production is heavily-dependent on the yields and rates of RO 2 destruction pathways under low NO conditions, which may have implications for simplified mechanisms and global predictions of isoprene emission based on satellite HCHO measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-410
Number of pages8
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Forest
  • Formaldehyde
  • Isoprene
  • Laser-induced fluorescence
  • NO


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