How Rainfall Events Modify Trace Gas Concentrations in Central Amazonia
Abstract. This study investigates the rain-initiated mixing and variability in the concentration of selected trace gases in the atmosphere over the central Amazon rain forest. It builds on comprehensive data from the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO), spanning from 2013 to 2020 and comprising the greenhouse gases (GHG) carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), the reactive trace gases carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), nitric oxide (NO), and nitrogen dioxide NO2 (NO2) as well as selected volatile organic compounds (VOC). Based on more than 1000 analyzed rainfall incidents, the study resolves the trace gas concentration patterns before, during, and after the rain events, along with its vertical concentration gradients across the forest canopy. The assessment of the rainfall events was conducted independently for daytime and nighttime periods, which allows us to elucidate the inﬂuence of solar radiation. The concentrations of CO2, CO, and CH4 clearly declined during rainfall, which can be attributed to the downdraft-related entrainment of pristine air from higher altitudes into the boundary layer, a reduction of the photosynthetic activity under increased cloud cover, as well as changes in the surface ﬂuxes. Notably, CO showed a faster reduction than CO2, and the vertical gradient of CO2 and CO is steeper than for CH4. Conversely, the O3 concentration increased across all measurement heights in the course of the rain-related downdrafts. Following the O3 enhancement by up to a factor of two, NO and VOC concentrations decreased, whereas NO2 increased. The temporal and vertical variability of the trace gases is intricately linked to the diverse sink and source processes, surface ﬂuxes, and free troposphere transport. Within the canopy, several interactions unfold among soil, atmosphere, and plants, shaping the overall dynamics. Also, the concentration of biogenic VOC (BVOC) clearly varied with rainfall, driven by factors such as light, temperature, physical transport, and soil processes. Our results disentangle the patterns in trace gas concentration in the course of the sudden and vigorous atmospheric mixing during rainfall events. By selectively uncovering processes that are not clearly detectable under undisturbed conditions, our results contribute to a better understanding of the trace gas life cycle and its interplay with meteorology, cloud dynamics, and rainfall in the Amazon and beyond.
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