GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

Observational constraints on the global atmospheric budget of ethanol

June 17th, 2010

Vaishali Naik, Arlene Fiore, Larry Horowitz from GFDL along with co-authors from NASA-AMES, NCAR, NOAA ESRL, University of Minnesota and University of California at Berkeley applied the global chemical-transport model MOZART-4 in conjunction with available observations from several regions around the globe to place constraints on the global budget of atmospheric ethanol. Their analysis indicates that over continental regions, ethanol concentrations predominantly reflect direct anthropogenic and biogenic emission sources. Furthermore, the authors find that current levels of ethanol measured in remote regions are an order of magnitude larger than those in the model, suggesting a major gap in the understanding of the sources and sinks of ethanol. Stronger constraints on the present-day budget and distribution of ethanol and other volatile organic compounds are needed to assess the impacts of increasing the use of ethanol as a fuel.

Figure Caption: Annual mean concentration of ethanol near the surface and at 500 mb simulated by the global chemical-transport model MOZART-4.

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