UV-induced carbon monoxide emission from sand and living vegetation

Dan Bruhn, Kristian Rost Albert, Teis Nørgaard Mikkelsen, Per Ambus

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The global burden of carbon monoxide, CO, is rather uncertain. In this paper we address the potential of UV-induced CO emission by terrestrial surfaces. Real-time measurements of [CO] were made with a cavity enhanced laser connected in closed loop to either an ecosystem chamber or a leaf scale chamber. Sand and leaves of all examined plant species exhibited emission of CO in response to artificial UV-radiation and the UV-component of natural solar radiation. The UV-induced rate of CO emission exhibited a rather low dependence on temperature, indicating an abiotic process. The emission of CO in response to the UV-component of natural solar radiation was also evident at the ecosystem scale. When scaled to the global level, the UV-induced emission of CO by the major types of terrestrial surfaces, living leaves and soil (here represented by sand), amounts up to 28 Tg yr<sup>−1</sup>. This source has till now not been accounted for by IPCC, but is equivalent to 14–56% of the 50–200 Tg yr<sup>−1</sup> from sources currently accounted for (IPCC 2001). In addition to this are other known sources that ought to be considered. The hitherto unaccounted for terrestrial sources of CO amounts up to 207 Tg yr<sup>−1</sup>, almost two-thirds of the latest estimated global CO burden of 360 Tg yr<sup>−1</sup> (IPCC, 2001).
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiogeosciences Discussions
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)8449
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

© Author(s) 2012. CC Attribution 3.0 License.


  • Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Biology and Life Sciences

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