Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics vol:12 issue:42 pages:14227-14235
A consistent body of experimental evidence from work of other groups is presented in support of the novel, theoretically based, isoprene oxidation mechanism we recently proposed to rationalize the unexpectedly high OH concentrations observed over areas with high isoprene emissions. Some explicit or implicit criticisms on the new mechanism are addressed. A particular photochemical mechanism is newly proposed for the OH-regenerating photolysis of the crucial hydroperoxymethyl-butenals (HPALDs), formed by isomerisation of the initial isoprene hydroxy-peroxy radicals, that rationalizes a quantum yield close to 1. A similar photolysis mechanism of the resulting photolabile peroxy-acid-aldehydes (PACALDs) is shown to generate ample additional OH. Global modeling demonstrates the major importance of the new chemistry for the oxidizing capacity of the atmosphere over continents. The globally averaged yield of the HPALDs in the oxidation of isoprene by OH is estimated to be of the order of 0.6. The isomerisation reactions of isoprene peroxy radicals are found to result in modelled [ OH] increases in the planetary boundary layer by up to a factor of 3, in agreement with the reported observations as in the Amazon basin.