Isoprene emission from leaves is temperature dependent and may protect leaves from damage at high temperatures. We measured the temperature of white oak (Quercus alba L.) leaves at the top of the canopy. The largest short-term changes in leaf temperature were associated with changes in solar radiation. During these episodes, leaf temperature changed with a 1 min time constant, a measure of the rate of temperature change. We imposed rapid temperature fluctuations on leaves to study the effect of temperature change rate on isoprene emission. Leaf temperature changed with a 16 s time constant; isoprene responded more slowly with a 37 s time constant. This time constant was slow enough to cause a lag in isoprene emission when leaf temperature fluctuated rapidly but isoprene emission changed quickly enough to follow the large temperature changes observed in the oak canopy. This is consistent with the theory that isoprene functions to protect leaves from short periods of high temperature. Time constant analysis also revealed that there are two processes that cause isoprene emission to increase with leaf temperature. The fastest process likely reflects the influence of temperature on reaction kinetics, while the slower process may reflect the activation of an enzyme.