Halogen-driven low-altitude O3 and hydrocarbon losses in spring at northern...

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Zeng, T., Y. Wang, K. Chance, N. J. Blake, D. R. Blake, and B. Ridley (2006), Halogen-driven low-altitude O3 and hydrocarbon losses in spring at northern high latitudes, J. Geophys. Res., 111, D17313, doi:10.1029/2005JD006706.
Abstract: 

Halogen-driven ozone and hydrocarbon losses in springtime Arctic boundary layer are investigated using a regional chemical transport model. Surface observations of ozone at Alert and Barrow and aircraft observations of ozone and hydrocarbons during the Tropospheric Ozone Production about the Spring Equinox (TOPSE) experiment from February to May in 2000 are analyzed. We prescribe halogen radical distributions on the basis of GOME BrO observations. Tropospheric GOME BrO column shows an apparent anticorrelation with surface temperature over high-BrO regions. The enhancements of tropospheric BrO columns coincide with movements of cold polar air masses. While GOME BrO measurements reach the maximum in March, simulated near-surface ozone loss peaks in April because of the increasing daylight hours and hence the time for chemical processing. At its peak, the area of simulated near-surface ozone depletions (O3 < 20 ppbv) covers >50% of the northern high latitudes. Analysis of surface measurements at Alert and Barrow points to the importance of long-range transport of ozone-poor air from high-BrO regions. We find that specifying a BrO layer thickness of 300 m results in the best overall agreement between observed and simulated ozone. The apparent halogen-driven ozone loss up to 1 km was reproduced in the model because of vertical transport of ozone-poor air from low altitudes. When the empirical Cl/Br ratios derived from previous observations are used, the model can reproduce the observed halogen loss of light alkanes and acetylene. The Cl/Br ratios from a recent box model study using an accepted chemical mechanism are, however, much higher than the empirical results. We show that the hydrocarbon loss is not as sensitive to the prescribed thickness of the halogen layer as the ozone loss, therefore representing a more robust measure for evaluating satellite BrO column measurements.

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