Bromoform and dibromomethane above the Mauritanian upwelling: Atmospheric distributions and oceanic emissions

Birgit Quack, Elliot Atlas, Gert Petrick, Douglas W.R. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Natural sources of bromoform (CHBr3) and dibromomethane (CH2Br2), including oceanic emissions, contribute to stratospheric and tropospheric O3 depletion. Convective transport over tropical oceans could deliver large amounts of these short-lived organic bromine species to the upper atmosphere. High mixing ratios of atmospheric CHBr3 in air masses from the northwest African coast have been hypothesized to originate from the biologically active Mauritanian upwelling. During a cruise into the upwelling source region in spring 2005 the atmospheric mixing ratios of the brominated compounds CHBr3 and CH2Br2 were found to be elevated above the marine background and comparable to measurements in other coastal regions. The shelf waters were identified as a source of both compounds for the atmosphere. The calculated sea-to-air emissions support the hypothesis of a strong upwelling source for reactive organic bromine. However, calculated emissions were not sufficient to explain the elevated concentrations observed in the coastal atmosphere. Other strong sources that could contribute to the large atmospheric mixing ratios previously observed over the Atlantic Ocean must exist within or near West Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberD09312
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 16 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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