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Schnitzhofer, R.; Wisthaler, A.; Hansel, A. (2009)
Publisher: Copernicus Publications
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: TA170-171, Earthwork. Foundations, Environmental engineering, TA715-787
A method for real-time profiling of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was developed combining the advantages of a tethered balloon as a research platform and of proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) as an analytical technique for fast and highly sensitive VOC measurements. A 200 m Teflon tube was used to draw sampling air from a tethered aerodynamic balloon to the PTR-MS instrument. Positive and negative artefacts (i.e. formation and loss of VOCs in the tube) were characterised in the laboratory and in the field by a set of 11 atmospherically relevant VOCs including both pure and oxygenated hydrocarbons. The only two compounds that increased or decreased when sampled through the tube were acetone (+7%) and xylene (-6%). The method was successfully deployed during a winter field campaign to determine the small scale spatial and temporal patterns of air pollutants under winter inversion conditions.

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