Interannual changes in atmospheric oxidation over forests determined from space

Joshua D. Shutter, Dylan B. Millet, Kelley C Wells, Vivienne H. Payne, Caroline R. Nowlan, Gonzalo González Abad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hydroxyl radical (OH) is the central oxidant in Earth’s troposphere, but its temporal variability is poorly understood. We combine 2012–2020 satellite-based isoprene and formaldehyde measurements to identify coherent OH changes over temperate and tropical forests with attribution to emission trends, biotic stressors, and climate. We identify a multiyear OH decrease over the Southeast United States and show that with increasingly hot/dry summers the regional chemistry could become even less oxidizing depending on competing temperature/drought impacts on isoprene. Furthermore, while global mean OH decreases during El Niño, we show that near-field effects over tropical rainforests can alternate between high/low OH anomalies due to opposing fire and biogenic emission impacts. Results provide insights into how atmospheric oxidation will evolve with changing emissions and climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalScience Advances
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 the Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. no claim to original U.S. Government Works. distributed under a creative commons Attribution noncommercial license 4.0 (cc BY-nc).

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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