Method for measurement of volatile oxygenated hydrocarbons in ambient air
An automated gas chromatographic method for the quantitative determination of oxygenated (C2-C5 carbonyls and C1-C2 alcohols) and some non-oxygenated (C5-C8) hydrocarbons in ambient air has been developed. The analytical system consists of a gas chromatograph with a cryogenic sampling trap, a precolumn for the separation of water and other interfering compounds, a cryogenic focusing trap and two analytical columns connected in series. Substances are detected either by flame ionization or by a mass spectrometer. Ozone is removed by a potassium iodide scrubber placed upstream the sampling trap. External gas standards generated by a permeation device are used for calibration. The detection limits range between 0.03 and 0.08 ng (depending on the compound), equivalent to 5 to 56 ppt in 1litre of sampled air. The method was tested by an intercomparison with a different gas chromatographic technique for the determination of NMHC. The system has been applied since 1994 for measurements in ambi ent air. Data obtained during an intensive campaign in summer 1995 at the field station Wank (1778 m a.s.l.) near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, are reported and compared with NMHC mixing ratios measured simultaneously in the same air masses.