A wide variety of micrometeorological measurement methods can be used to estimate the postapplication volatilization of pesticides from treated fields. All these estimation methods require that the entire study area have the same surficial characteristics, including the area surrounding the actual study site, and that the pesticide under investigation be applied as quickly and as uniformly as possible before any measurements are made. Methods such as aerodynamic profile, energy balance, eddy correlation, and relaxed eddy accumulation require a large (typically 1 or more hectare) study area so that the flux measurements can be made in a well developed atmospheric boundary- layer and that steady-state conditions exist. The area surrounding the study plot should have similar surficial characteristics as the study plot with sufficient upwind extent so the wind speed and temperature gradients are fully developed. Mass balance methods such as integrated horizontal flux and trajectory simulations do not require a large source area, but the area surrounding the study plot should have similar surficial characteristics. None of the micrometeorological techniques for estimating the postapplication volatilization fluxes of pesticides disturb the environment or the soil processes that influence the gas exchange from the surface to the atmosphere. They allow for continuous measurements and provide a temporally averaged flux value over a large area. If the behavior of volatilizing pesticides and the importance of the volatilization process in redistributing pesticides in the environment are to be fully understood, it is critical that we understand not only the processes that govern pesticide entry into the lower atmosphere, but also how much of the millions of kilograms of pesticides that are applied annually are introduced into, and redistributed by, the atmosphere. We also must be aware of the assumptions and limitations of the estimation techniques used, and adapt the field of pesticide volatilization flux measurements to advances in atmospheric science.
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Micrometeorologic methods for measuring the post-application volatilization of pesticides