Very short-lived bromomethanes measured by the CARIBIC observatory over the North Atlantic, Africa and Southeast Asia during 2009-2013

A. Wisher, D. E. Oram, J. C. Laube, G. P. Mills, P. van Velthoven, A. Zahn, C. A. M. Brenninkmeijer

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Short-lived organic brominated compounds make up a significant part of the organic bromine budget in the atmosphere. Emissions of these compounds are highly variable and there are limited measurements, particularly in the extra-tropical upper troposphere/lower stratosphere and tropical troposphere. Measurements of five very short-lived bromomethanes (VSLB) were made in air samples collected on the CARIBIC project aircraft over three flight routes; Germany to Venezuela/Columbia during 2009-2011, Germany to South Africa during 2010 and 2011 and Germany to Thailand/Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during 2012 and 2013. In the tropical troposphere, as the most important entrance region to the stratosphere, we observe a total mean organic bromine derived from these compounds across all flights at 10-12 km altitude of 3.4 ± 1.5 ppt. Individual mean tropical tropospheric mixing ratios across all flights were 0.43, 0.74, 0.14, 0.23 and 0.11 ppt for CHBr3, CH2Br2, CHBr2Cl, CHBrCl2 and CH2BrCl respectively. The highest levels of VSLB-derived bromine (4.20 ± 0.56 ppt) were observed in flights between Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur indicating that the South China Sea is an important source region for these compounds. Across all routes, CHBr and CHBr2 accounted for 34% (4.7-71) and 48% (14-73) respectively of total bromine derived from the analysed VSLB in the tropical mid-upper troposphere totalling 82% (54-89). In samples collected between Germany and Venezuela/Columbia, we find decreasing mean mixing ratios with increasing potential temperature in the extra-tropics. Tropical mean mixing ratios are higher than extra-tropical values between 340-350 K indicating that rapid uplift is important in determining mixing ratios in the lower tropical tropopause layer in the West Atlantic tropics. O3 was used as a tracer for stratospherically influenced air and we detect rapidly decreasing mixing ratios for all VSLB above ∼100 ppb O3 corresponding to the extra-tropical tropopause layer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3557-3570
Number of pages14
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2014

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