We report enhancements of glyoxal relative to carbon monoxide and formaldehyde from biomass burning plumes intercepted from the NOAA WP-3D aircraft during the 2013 Southeast Nexus and 2015 Shale Oil and Natural Gas Nexus field campaigns. The intercepted biomass burning plumes were from small agricultural fires. Since the plume ages were not known, these values are normalized excess mixing ratios, instead of the more common emission ratio, which is used only for fresh emissions. Glyoxal was measured using broadband cavity enhanced spectroscopy, which provides a sensitive and highly selective measurement of glyoxal. Emissions of other species such as methane, formaldehyde, and nitrous acid agreed with previous laboratory and field measurements, but the glyoxal emissions relative to CO were on average a factor of 4 lower than previously reported. Several glyoxal loss processes such as aerosol uptake were examined to determine if they could affect the observed glyoxal concentrations, but they were insufficient to explain the lower measured values of glyoxal relative to other biomass burning trace gases, indicating that glyoxal emissions from biomass burning may be significantly overestimated.
Environmental Science and Technology (ISSN 0013-936X) (e-ISSN 1520-5851); 51; 20; 11761-11770