Meteorological constraints on oceanic halocarbons above the Peruvian upwelling

Steffen Fuhlbrügge, Birgit Quack, Elliot Atlas, Alina Fiehn, Helmke Hepach, Kirstin Krüger

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5 Scopus citations


During a cruise of R/V METEOR in December 2012 the oceanic sources and emissions of various halogenated trace gases and their mixing ratios in the marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL) were investigated above the Peruvian upwelling. This study presents novel observations of the three very short lived substances (VSLSs)-bromoform, dibromomethane and methyl iodide-together with high-resolution meteorological measurements, Lagrangian transport and source-loss calculations. Oceanic emissions of bromoform and dibromomethane were relatively low compared to other upwelling regions, while those for methyl iodide were very high. Radiosonde launches during the cruise revealed a low, stable MABL and a distinct trade inversion above acting as strong barriers for convection and vertical transport of trace gases in this region. Observed atmospheric VSLS abundances, sea surface temperature, relative humidity and MABL height correlated well during the cruise. We used a simple source-loss estimate to quantify the contribution of oceanic emissions along the cruise track to the observed atmospheric concentrations. This analysis showed that averaged, instantaneous emissions could not support the observed atmospheric mixing ratios of VSLSs and that the marine background abundances below the trade inversion were significantly influenced by advection of regional sources. Adding to this background, the observed maximum emissions of halocarbons in the coastal upwelling could explain the high atmospheric VSLS concentrations in combination with their accumulation under the distinct MABL and trade inversions. Stronger emissions along the nearshore coastline likely added to the elevated abundances under the steady atmospheric conditions. This study underscores the importance of oceanic upwelling and trade wind systems on the atmospheric distribution of marine VSLS emissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12205-12217
Number of pages13
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 29 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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