Volatile organic compounds at a rural site in western Senegal

Deanne D. Grant, Jose D. Fuentes, Stephen Chan, William R. Stockwell, Daniel Wang, Seydi A. Ndiaye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The objectives of this study were to identify species and levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and determine their oxidation capacity in the rural atmosphere of western Senegal. A field study was conducted to obtain air samples during September 14 and September 15, 2006 for analyses of VOCs. Methanol, acetone, and acetaldehyde were the most abundant detected chemical species and their maximum mixing ratios reached 6 parts per billion on a volume basis (ppbv). Local emission sources such as firewood and charcoal burning strongly influenced VOC concentrations. The VOC concentrations exhibited little temporal variations due to the low reactivity with hydroxyl radicals, with reactivity values ranging from 0.001 to 2.6 s-1. The conditions in this rural site were rather clean. Low ambient NO x levels limited ozone production. Nitrogen oxide (NO x ) levels reached values less than 2 ppbv and maximum VOC/NO x ratios reached 60 ppbvC/ppbv, with an overall average of 2.4±4.5 ppbvC/ppbv. This indicates that the rural western Senegal region is NO x limited in terms of oxidant formation potential. Therefore, during the study period photochemical ozone production became limited due to low ambient NO x levels. The estimated ozone formation reactivity for VOCs was low and ranged between -5.5 mol of ozone/mol of benzaldehyde to 0.6 mol/mol of anthropogenic dienes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-35
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Atmospheric Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Atmospheric Science


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