The Terpene Project

We have been funded by the National Science Foundation to study how the emission of volatile organic compounds from a pine forest near Manitou, Colorado influences, and is influenced by, the local water cycle. The volatilization of compounds called terpenes from the needles of pine trees drives an active series of photochemical reactions in the lower atmosphere, which in turn can influence the formation of clouds and potential for precipitation. We are studying the rate at which these terpenes are emitted from pine needles and how variations in the local climate (principally temperature and precipitation) affect the emission rate. We have set up a large experiment to move water from some trees to other trees in order to discover how precipitation controls the amount and seasonal timing of terpene emissions from these trees.

Terpenes
Terpenes
Terpenes