The exchange of nonmethane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) at the surface–atmosphere interface is a fundamental constraint and important boundary condition for atmospheric chemistry and its effects on climate. Anthropogenic emissions are thought to account for about half of the NMVOC flux into the atmosphere of the Northern Hemisphere, yet their budget is considerably uncertain due to the scarcity of appropriate top-down constraints.
Here we present direct flux measurements of NMVOCs based on the eddy covariance technique, showing that the contribution of typical urban emission sources is comprised of a surprisingly large portion of oxygenated NMVOC. These results suggest that typical urban NMVOC emission sources could be significantly higher than currently projected in air chemistry and climate models.
Reference: Urban flux measurements reveal a large pool of oxygenated volatile organic compound emissions; PNAS (2018).