Iodine, Bromine, and Chlorine – Emission Rates and Sources

2018-12-18T13:45:40Z (GMT) by Angela R. Raso
Halogen chemistry in the Arctic boundary layer catalytically destroys O3 and impacts the chemical lifetimes of hydrocarbons, the HOx-NOx cycle, and atmospheric mercury. While many advances have been made in the last several decades in understanding the sources, sinks, and recycling pathways of halogens in the Arctic there are still many unknowns. Previous studies have shown that Br2, BrCl and Cl2 are produced photochemically in the Arctic tundra snowpack, but the magnitude of this production is still poorly understood. Additionally, while there have been suggestions that the tundra snowpack should also produce I2, there have been no previous measurements of I2 in the Arctic. The lack of measurements of the halogen production capacity of Arctic snowpacks has left the community to rely on one-dimensional modeling to estimate the impact of snowpack-derived halogen chemistry on the Arctic atmosphere. Because modeling is inherently dependent on understanding recycling mechanisms, mixing processes, and sinks this leaves the effect of halogens on atmospheric chemistry in the Arctic highly uncertain.

This work describes efforts to address these uncertainties through measurements made during two field campaigns in Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska in January – February 2014, and February – May 2016. The first measurements of I2 in the Arctic, both in the snowpack interstitial air, and in the air above the snowpack demonstrate that iodine chemistry is active in the Arctic atmosphere, and that I2 is produced photochemically in the tundra snowpack. The effects of active iodine chemistry on both O3 and bromine chemistry is examined through zero- and one dimensional modeling. The first speciated measurements of snowpack phase iodine reveal that much like previous reports of iodine enriched aerosols, the Arctic snowpack is highly enriched in iodine. Vertical profiles of I- in the snowpack suggest that there is a consistent, non-radiation dependent source of iodine to the Arctic environment. It seems likely that this source is transport of iodine-enriched aerosols from the mid-latitudes. However, unlike the Antarctic, and previous
observations in the mid-latitudes, most Arctic snowpack phase iodine is inorganic, which may contradict transport from the mid-latitudes as a source. One-dimensional modeling was also utilized, in conjunction with the first vertical profile measurements of Br2 and Cl2 between 1 and
7 m above the snowpack surface to examine the community’s understanding of recycling mechanisms, mixing, sources, and sinks of halogens in the Arctic Atmosphere.