Long-term time series of Arctic tropospheric BrO derived from UV–VIS satellite remote sensing and its relation to first-year sea ice
Earth and related Environmental sciences
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Every polar spring, phenomena called bromine explosions occur over sea ice. These bromine explosions comprise photochemical heterogeneous chain reactions that release bromine molecules, Br2, to the troposphere and lead to tropospheric plumes of bromine monoxide, BrO. This autocatalytic mechanism depletes ozone, O3, in the boundary layer and troposphere and thereby changes the oxidizing capacity of the atmosphere. The phenomenon also leads to accelerated deposition of metals (e.g., Hg). In this study, we present a 22-year (1996 to 2017) consolidated and consistent tropospheric BrO dataset north of 70∘ N, derived from four different ultraviolet–visible (UV–VIS) satellite instruments (GOME, SCIAMACHY, GOME-2A and GOME-2B). The retrieval data products from the different sensors are compared during periods of overlap and show good agreement (correlations of 0.82–0.98 between the sensors). From our merged time series of tropospheric BrO vertical column densities (VCDs), we infer changes in the bromine explosions and thus an increase in the extent and magnitude of tropospheric BrO plumes during the period of Arctic warming. We determined an increasing trend of about 1.5 % of the tropospheric BrO VCDs per year during polar springs, while the size of the areas where enhanced tropospheric BrO VCDs can be found has increased about 896 km2 yr−1. We infer from comparisons and correlations with sea ice age data that the reported changes in the extent and magnitude of tropospheric BrO VCDs are moderately related to the increase in first-year ice extent in the Arctic north of 70∘ N, both temporally and spatially, with a correlation coefficient of 0.32. However, the BrO plumes and thus bromine explosions show significant variability, which also depends, apart from sea ice, on meteorological conditions.
CitationBougoudis, I.; Blechschmidt, A.-M.; Richter, A.; Seo, S.; Burrows, J.P.; Theys, N.; Rinke, A. (2020). Long-term time series of Arctic tropospheric BrO derived from UV–VIS satellite remote sensing and its relation to first-year sea ice. , Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 20, Issue 20, 11869-11892, DOI: 10.5194/acp-20-11869-2020.