Intercomparison of oxygenated volatile organic compound (OVOC) measurements at the SAPHIR atmosphere simulation chamber

E.C. Apel, T. Brauers, R. Koppmann, B. Bandowe, J. Boßmeyer, C. Holzke, R. Tillmann, A. Wahner, R. Wegener, A. Brunner, M. Jocher, T. Ruuskanen, C. Spirig, D. Steigner, R. Steinbrecher, E. Gomez Alvarez, K. Müller, J.P. Burrows, G. Schade, S.J. SolomonA. Ladstätter-Weißenmayer, P. Simmonds, D. Young, J.R. Hopkins, A.C. Lewis, G. Legreid, S. Reimann, A. Hansel, A. Wisthaler, R.S. Blake, A.M. Ellis, P.S. Monks, Kevin Wyche

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This paper presents results from the first large-scale in situ intercomparison of oxygenated volatile organic compound (OVOC) measurements. The intercomparison was conducted blind at the large (270 m 3) simulation chamber, Simulation of Atmospheric Photochemistry in a Large Reaction Chamber (SAPHIR), in Julich, Germany. Fifteen analytical instruments, representing a wide range of techniques, were challenged with measuring atmospherically relevant OVOC species and toluene (14 species, C1 to C7) in the approximate range of 0.5–10 ppbv under three different conditions: (1) OVOCs with no humidity or ozone, (2) OVOCs with humidity added (r.h. ≈ 50%), and (3) OVOCs with ozone (≈60 ppbv) and humidity (r.h. ≈ 50%). The SAPHIR chamber proved to be an excellent facility for conducting this experiment. Measurements from individual instruments were compared to mixing ratios calculated from the chamber volume and the known amount of OVOC injected into the chamber. Benzaldehyde and 1-butanol, compounds with the lowest vapor pressure of those studied, presented the most overall difficulty because of a less than quantitative transfer through some of the participants’ analytical systems. The performance of each individual instrument is evaluated with respect to reference values in terms of time series and correlation plots for each compound under the three measurement conditions. A few of the instruments performed very well, closely matching the reference values, and all techniques demonstrated the potential for quantitative OVOC measurements. However, this study showed that nonzero offsets are present for specific compounds in a number of instruments and overall improvements are necessary for the majority of the techniques evaluated here.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue numberD20
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2008

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.


  • OVOC
  • intercomparison


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