Geophysical Research Letters
In this report we analyze airborne measurements to suggest that methanol in biomass burning smoke is lost heterogeneously in clouds. When a smoke plume intersected a cumulus cloud during the SAFARI 2000 field project, the observed methanol gas phase concentration rapidly declined. Current understanding of gas and aqueous phase chemistry cannot explain the loss of methanol documented by these measurements. Two plausible heterogeneous reactions are proposed to explain the observed simultaneous loss and production of methanol and formaldehyde, respectively. If the rapid heterogeneous processing of methanol, seen in a cloud impacted by smoke, occurs in more pristine clouds, it could affect the oxidizing capacity of the troposphere on a global scale.
© 2004, American Geophysical Union.