Summary and Info
Every day, large quantities of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted into the atmosphere from both anthropogenic and natural sources. They are the 'fuel' that keeps atmospheric photochemistry running. Therefore, their sources, sinks and residence times are the subject of current research. In addition to influencing local, regional and even global photochemistry, several of these compounds have a potential impact on climate, both due to their properties as greenhouse gases and due to their ability to form aerosol particles on oxidation. The formation of gaseous and particulate secondary products caused by the oxidation of VOCs is one of the largest unknowns in the quantitative prediction of the earth's climate on a regional and global scale, and on the understanding of local air quality. To be able to model and control their impact, it is essential to understand the sources of VOC, their distribution in the atmosphere and the chemical transformations they undergo. Furthermore, organic trace gases can be used as tracer compounds to investigate reactions that are not directly accessible to current measurement techniques or as probes to 'visualise' transport processes in the atmosphere or across atmospheric boundaries.