Measurements of C1-C4 carbonyls at forested regions in México

J. B. CERÓN BETRON, H. PADILLA, RAÚL BELMONT, M. C. TORRES, M. MOYA, A. P. BÁEZ

Abstract

Measurements of formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, propionaldehyde and butyraldehyde concentrations were made at five different forested regions in México. One set of two simultaneous samplings was performed at two sites located in the México State, one semi-rural area (Temascaltepec), and the other, a forested area (Rancho Viejo). A second set of two simultaneous samplings were made in southern Veracruz State, in one rural area (Monte Pío) and inside a tropical rainforest (at the Biology Station of the University of México). Finally, one sampling was performed in the Sierra of Puebla State (Cuetzalan). Propionaldehyde and butyraldehyde were not reported because their concentrations were always below or near the detection limit of the technique. The highest concentrations were found from 7:00 to 11:00 h and from 11:00 to 19:00 h in all the sampling sites. Arithmetic mean concentrations of acetone were the highest observed among the detected carbonyl compounds in almost all sites, ranging from 0.5 to 8.4 μg m-3. Arithmetic mean concentrations of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde ranged from 0.83 to 6 μg m-3 and 0.53 to 4.7 μg m-3, respectively. The Spearman’s correlations between formaldehyde and acetone, and between acetaldehyde and acetone were statistically significant at p < 0.05 in almost all sites. A significant correlation (p < 0.05) between formaldehyde and acetaldehyde was observed in México State at Rancho Viejo and Temascaltepec. The mean ratio HCHO/ CH3CHO of concentrations was 1.83 and 1.31 in the forested area of Rancho Viejo, first and second sampling periods, respectively; 1.71 and 1.62 in the semi-rural area of Temascaltepec, first and second sampling periods respectively; 1.70 in Cuetzalan; 2.90 in the rural area of Monte Pío; and 1.61 in the Biology Station tropical rainforest. These values show a greater influence of atmospheric pollutants transported from sites with anthropogenic activities, because HCHO/CH3CHO concentration ratios between 1 and 2 are typical values of urban air. During the onset of strong winds from the south (locally known as “surada”) a significant increase in carbonyl concentration was observed, in relation to the days before the “surada”, as a result of a possible transport of pollutants emitted by distant anthropogenic sources such as the highway near Catemaco town and industrial complexes near Coatzacoalcos city. The air mass back trajectories were calculated for Rancho Viejo, Temascaltepec and Cuetzalan, and average carbonyl concentrations in air were discussed according to the air mass origin.

 

Keywords

Carbonyl; forests; tropical forest; México

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