Seasonal and diurnal variation of formaldehyde and its meteorological drivers at the GAW site zugspitze

Michael Leuchner, Homa Ghasemifard, Marvin Lüpke, Ludwig Ries, Christian Schunk, Annette Menzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Continuous formaldehyde measurements were performed at the high-altitude GAW site Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus for more than one year. This unique dataset was analyzed for daily and seasonal variation and for the influence of large-scale synoptic conditions and air-mass origin on the observed concentrations. The average daily course exhibited maxima in the afternoon and minima at night, however differing between seasons. The general strong seasonal variation with average values for winter, spring, summer, and fall of 0.350, 0.529, 0.986, 0.429 ppbv, respectively, could be well explained by secondary production following photochemical activity. The large variability of formaldehyde mixing ratios within the seasons was shown to be influenced by different factors in this complex topography such as mixing of air masses from the planetary boundary layer and the free troposphere, advection of differently aged air from various source regions, and local meteorological conditions. An analysis of the impact of large-scale weather types, cyclonality, and flow directions revealed that the cleanest air masses were advected from westerly directions in particular under cyclonic conditions while southerly cyclonic and northerly/northwesterly anticyclonic conditions led to the highest formaldehyde levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-815
Number of pages15
JournalAerosol and Air Quality Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016


  • Formaldehyde
  • Large-scale weather types
  • Remote site
  • Trajectories


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