Modeling the isoprene emission rate from leaves


  • Russell K. Monson,

    1. School of Natural Resources and the Environment and Laboratory for Tree Ring Research, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA
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  • Rüdiger Grote,

    1. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, Kreuzeckbahnstrasse 19, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
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  • Ülo Niinemets,

    1. Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 1, Tartu 51014, Estonia
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  • Jörg-Peter Schnitzler

    1. Research Unit Environmental Simulation, Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology, Helmholtz Zentrum München, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany
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Author for correspondence:
Russell Monson
Tel: +1 303 492 6319



II.The biochemical control over isoprene emission rate542
III.General forms of the models used to predict the leaf isoprene emission rate543
IV.Modeling the short-term responses to photon flux density545
V.Resolving problems with the current Guenther algorithm covering the PPFD-dependence of Ei546
VI.The temperature dependence of isoprene emission rate547
VII.Clarifying issues with the current Guenther algorithm covering the temperature-dependence of Ei549
VIII.The CO2 dependence of the isoprene emission rate549
IX.Modeling the relation between isoprene emission and leaf conductance551
X.Modeling the longer-term processes that control isoprene emission rate552


The leaves of many plants emit isoprene (2-methyl-1,3-butadiene) to the atmosphere, a process which has important ramifications for global and regional atmospheric chemistry. Quantitation of leaf isoprene emission and its response to environmental variation are described by empirically derived equations that replicate observed patterns, but have been linked only in some cases to known biochemical and physiological processes. Furthermore, models have been proposed from several independent laboratories, providing multiple approaches for prediction of emissions, but with little detail provided as to how contrasting models are related. In this review we provide an analysis as to how the most commonly used models have been validated, or not, on the basis of known biochemical and physiological processes. We also discuss the multiple approaches that have been used for modeling isoprene emission rate with an emphasis on identifying commonalities and contrasts among models, we correct some mathematical errors that have been propagated through the models, and we note previously unrecognized covariances within processes of the models. We come to the conclusion that the state of isoprene emission modeling remains highly empirical. Where possible, we identify gaps in our knowledge that have prevented us from achieving a greater mechanistic foundation for the models, and we discuss the insight and data that must be gained to fill those gaps.