Isoprene chemistry in pristine and polluted Amazon environments: Eulerian and Lagrangian model frameworks and the strong bearing they have on our understanding of surface ozone and predictions of rainforest exposure to this priority pollutant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • O. J. Squire
  • A. T. Archibald
  • P. T. Griffiths
  • N. L. Abraham
  • J. A. Pyle
  • D. E. Oram
  • G. Forster
  • J. F. Brito
  • J. D. Lee
  • J. R. Hopkins
  • A. C. Lewis
  • S. J.B. Bauguitte
  • C. F. Demarco
  • P. Artaxo
  • P. Messina
  • J. Lathière
  • D. A. Hauglustaine
  • E. House
  • C. N. Hewitt
  • E. Nemitz

External organisations

  • University of Cambridge
  • University of East Anglia
  • Universidade de Sao Paulo - USP
  • University of York
  • Natural Environment Research Council
  • Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement
  • Lancaster University
  • UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology


This study explores our ability to simulate the atmospheric chemistry stemming from isoprene emissions in pristine and polluted regions of the Amazon basin. We confront two atmospheric chemistry models - a global, Eulerian chemistry-climate model (UM-UKCA) and a trajectory-based Lagrangian model (CiTTyCAT) - with recent airborne measurements of atmospheric composition above the Amazon made during the SAMBBA campaign of 2012. The simulations with the two models prove relatively insensitive to the chemical mechanism employed; we explore one based on the Mainz Isoprene Mechanism, and an updated one that includes changes to the chemistry of first generation isoprene nitrates (ISON) and the regeneration of hydroxyl radicals via the formation of hydroperoxy-aldehydes (HPALDS) from hydroperoxy radicals (ISO2). In the Lagrangian model, the impact of increasing the spatial resolution of trace gas emissions employed from 3.75° x 2.5° to 0.1° x 0.1° varies from one flight to another, and from one chemical species to another. What consistently proves highly influential on our simulations, however, is the model framework itself - how the treatment of transport, and consequently mixing, differs between the two models. The lack of explicit mixing in the Lagrangian model yields variability in atmospheric composition more reminiscent of that exhibited by the measurements. In contrast, the combination of explicit (and implicit) mixing in the Eulerian model removes much of this variability but yields better agreement with the measurements overall. We therefore explore a simple treatment of mixing in the Lagrangian model that, drawing on output from the Eulerian model, offers a compromise between the two models. We use this Lagrangian/Eulerian combination, in addition to the separate Eulerian and Lagrangian models, to simulate ozone at a site in the boundary layer downwind of Manaus, Brazil. The Lagrangian/Eulerian combination predicts a value for an AOT40-like accumulated exposure metric of around 1000 ppbv h, compared to just 20 ppbv h with the Eulerian model. The model framework therefore has considerable bearing on our understanding of the frequency at which, and the duration for which, the rainforest is exposed to damaging ground-level ozone concentrations.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24251-24310
Number of pages60
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2015