Biogenic halocarbons from the Peruvian upwelling region as tropospheric halogen source

Helmke Hepach, Birgit Quack, Susann Tegtmeier, Anja Engel, Astrid Bracher, Steffen Fuhlbrügge, Luisa Galgani, Elliot L. Atlas, Johannes Lampel, Udo Frieß, Kirstin Krüger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Halocarbons are produced naturally in the oceans by biological and chemical processes. They are emitted from surface seawater into the atmosphere, where they take part in numerous chemical processes such as ozone destruction and the oxidation of mercury and dimethyl sulfide. Here we present oceanic and atmospheric halocarbon data for the Peruvian upwelling zone obtained during the M91 cruise onboard the research vessel METEOR in December 2012. Surface waters during the cruise were characterized by moderate concentrations of bromoform (CHBr3) and dibromomethane (CH2Br2) correlating with diatom biomass derived from marker pigment concentrations, which suggests this phytoplankton group is a likely source. Concentrations measured for the iodinated compounds methyl iodide (CH3I) of up to 35.4ĝ€pmolĝ€Lĝ'1, chloroiodomethane (CH2ClI) of up to 58.1ĝ€pmolĝ€Lĝ'1 and diiodomethane (CH2I2) of up to 32.4ĝ€pmolĝ€Lĝ'1 in water samples were much higher than previously reported for the tropical Atlantic upwelling systems. Iodocarbons also correlated with the diatom biomass and even more significantly with dissolved organic matter (DOM) components measured in the surface water. Our results suggest a biological source of these compounds as a significant driving factor for the observed large iodocarbon concentrations. Elevated atmospheric mixing ratios of CH3I (up to 3.2ĝ€ppt), CH2ClI (up to 2.5ĝ€ppt) and CH2I2 (3.3ĝ€ppt) above the upwelling were correlated with seawater concentrations and high sea-to-Air fluxes. During the first part of the cruise, the enhanced iodocarbon production in the Peruvian upwelling contributed significantly to tropospheric iodine levels, while this contribution was considerably smaller during the second part.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12219-12237
Number of pages19
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 29 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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