First observations of iodine oxide from space

Saiz-Lopez, A., K. Chance, X. Liu, T. Kurosu, and S. P. Sander (2007), First observations of iodine oxide from space, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L12812, doi:10.1029/2007GL030111.

We present retrievals of IO total columns from the Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography (SCIAMACHY) satellite instrument. We analyze data for October 2005 in the polar regions to demonstrate for the first time the capability to measure IO column abundances from space. During the period of analysis (i.e. Southern Hemisphere springtime), enhanced IO vertical columns over 3 × 1013 molecules cm-2 are observed around coastal Antarctica; by contrast during that time in the Artic region IO is consistently below the calculated instrumental detection limit for individual radiance spectra (2 – 4 × 1012 molecules cm-2 for slant columns). The levels reported here are in reasonably good agreement with previous ground-based measurements at coastal Antarctica. These results also demonstrate that IO is widespread over sea-ice covered areas in the Southern Ocean. The occurrence of elevated IO and its hitherto unrecognized spatial distribution suggest an efficient iodine activation mechanism at a synoptic scale over coastal Antarctica.

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