, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 1263–1274 | Cite as

Oak leaves as aerosol collectors: relationships with wind velocity and particle size distribution. Experimental results and their implications

  • Ausra Reinap
  • Bo L. B. Wiman
  • Birgitta Svenningsson
  • Sara Gunnarsson
Original Paper


Advancing the understanding of the aerosol-capture efficiencies of forest components such as leaves and needles, and of the mechanisms that underpin these efficiencies, is essential to the many related issues of forest turnover of nutrients and pollutants. For idealized collectors (such as artificial plates or cylinders) aerosol-mechanics offers a means for calculating capture efficiencies. For living collectors, in particular deciduous leaves, experimental investigations become necessary to assist in formulating the sub-models of capture efficiency that are fundamental to the modelling of fluxes of aerosol-borne substances to forests. We here present wind-tunnel based methods and results for leaves of Quercus robur L. exposed to an aerosol whose mass versus aerodynamic particle size distribution is characterised by a geometric mean aerodynamic particle diameter around 1.2 μm and a geometric standard deviation around 1.8. With respect to that distribution, and founded on a specially designed leaf wash-off method, we obtained average oak-leaf capture efficiencies ranging from 0.006% of the approaching aerosol mass flux at wind-speed 2 ms−1 to 0.012% of the flux at wind-speeds 10 ms−1, respectively. These values can be translated into deposition velocities (V d ) for a leaf ensemble with a given leaf area index (LAI). With LAI in the range 2–5 (commonly found in the field) and for wind-speeds 2, 5 and 10 ms−1, resulting V d -values would be 0.02–0.05, 0.05–0.13, and 0.2–0.6 cm/s, respectively. To the extent comparisons are possible, our capture efficiency values are at the low end of the range of values reported by other researchers. The strong wind-speed sensitivity of V d has implications for the deposition of aerosol-borne substances to forests for which wind regimes may shift as a result of climatic and land-use changes.


Quercus robur Capture efficiency Deposition velocity Wind-tunnel Forest biogeochemistry 



This work was funded by the Kalmar University Faculty Board of Natural Sciences and Technology. Some of the instruments used for the experiments were part of the IEDA project, funded by the Swedish Research Council. We thank Sven Bergh, Anders Månsson and Georg Gleffe for assisting with adapting the wind-tunnel to the particular experiments involved in this study. We gratefully acknowledge the constructive criticism by three anonymous reviewers of earlier versions of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ausra Reinap
    • 1
  • Bo L. B. Wiman
    • 1
  • Birgitta Svenningsson
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sara Gunnarsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Natural Resources Management Research Unit, Environmental Science and Technology Research Centre, School of Pure and Applied Natural SciencesKalmar UniversityKalmarSweden
  2. 2.Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystems AnalysisLund UniversityLundSweden
  3. 3.Department of Nuclear PhysicsLund UniversityLundSweden

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