Tropical regions, with their high biological activity, have the potential to emit large amounts of trace gases and aerosols to the atmosphere. This can take the form of trace gas fluxes from soils and vegetation, where gaseous species are produced and consumed by living organisms, or of smoke emissions from vegetation fires. In the last decade, considerable scientific effort has gone into quantifying these fluxes from the African continent. We find that both biogenic and pyrogenic emissions have a powerful impact on regional and global atmospheric chemistry, particularly on photooxidation processes and tropospheric ozone. The emissions of radiatively active gases and aerosols from the African continent are likely to have a significant climatic effect, but presently available data are not sufficient for reliable quantitative estimates of this effect.
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Vol. 29 • No. 1