Terpene emissions from boreal wetlands can initiate stronger atmospheric new particle formation than boreal forests


Aerosols and their interaction with clouds constitute the largest uncertainty in estimating the radiative forcing affecting the climate system. Secondary aerosol formation is responsible for a large fraction of the cloud condensation nuclei in the global atmosphere. Wetlands are important to the budgets of methane and carbon dioxide, but the potential role of wetlands in aerosol formation has not been investigated. Here we use direct atmospheric sampling at the Siikaneva wetland in Finland to investigate the emission of methane and volatile organic compounds, and subsequently formed atmospheric clusters and aerosols. We find that terpenes initiate stronger atmospheric new particle formation than is typically observed over boreal forests and that, in addition to large emissions of methane which cause a warming effect, wetlands also have a cooling effect through emissions of these terpenes. We suggest that new wetlands produced by melting permafrost need to be taken into consideration as sources of secondary aerosol particles when estimating the role of increasing wetland extent in future climate change. Boreal wetlands emit terpenes which initiate atmospheric new particle formation to an even greater degree than is usually seen over boreal forests, according to direct measurements of volatile organic compounds from a Finnish wetland.