Potential of needle trap microextraction–portable gas chromatography–mass spectrometry for measurement of atmospheric volatile compounds
- 1Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, P.O. Box 55, 00014, Finland
- 2Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, P.O. Box 64, 00014, Finland
Abstract. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) play a key role in atmospheric chemistry and physics. They participate in photochemical reactions in the atmosphere, which have direct implications on climate through, e.g. aerosol particle formation. Forests are important sources of VOCs, and the limited resources and infrastructures often found in many remote environments call for the development of portable devices. In this research, the potential of needle trap microextraction and portable gas chromatography–mass spectrometry for the study of VOCs at forest site was evaluated. Measurements were performed in summer and autumn 2014 at the Station for Measuring Ecosystem-Atmosphere Relations (SMEAR II) in Hyytiälä, Finland. During the first part of the campaign (summer) the applicability of the developed method was tested for the determination of monoterpenes, pinonaldehyde, aldehydes, amines and anthropogenic compounds. The temporal variation of aerosol precursors was determined, and evaluated against temperature and aerosol number concentration data. The most abundant monoterpenes, pinonaldehyde and aldehydes were successfully measured, their relative amounts being lower during days when particle number concentration was higher. Ethylbenzene, p- and m-xylene were also found when wind direction was from cities with substantial anthropogenic activity. An accumulation of VOCs in the snow cover was observed in the autumn campaign. Results demonstrated the successful applicability of needle trap microextraction and portable gas chromatography–mass spectrometry for the rapid in situ determination of organic gaseous compounds in the atmosphere.