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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 2, issue 2
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 2, 773–777, 2009
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2-773-2009
© Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 2, 773–777, 2009
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2-773-2009
© Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  03 Dec 2009

03 Dec 2009

Real-time profiling of organic trace gases in the planetary boundary layer by PTR-MS using a tethered balloon

R. Schnitzhofer, A. Wisthaler, and A. Hansel R. Schnitzhofer et al.
  • Institute of Ion Physics and Applied Physics, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria

Abstract. A method for real-time profiling of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was developed combining the advantages of a tethered balloon as a research platform and of proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) as an analytical technique for fast and highly sensitive VOC measurements. A 200 m Teflon tube was used to draw sampling air from a tethered aerodynamic balloon to the PTR-MS instrument. Positive and negative artefacts (i.e. formation and loss of VOCs in the tube) were characterised in the laboratory and in the field by a set of 11 atmospherically relevant VOCs including both pure and oxygenated hydrocarbons. The only two compounds that increased or decreased when sampled through the tube were acetone (+7%) and xylene (-6%). The method was successfully deployed during a winter field campaign to determine the small scale spatial and temporal patterns of air pollutants under winter inversion conditions.

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