10.4 Tracking Oxidation during Transport of Trace Gases in Air from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere

Thursday, 11 January 2018: 9:15 AM
Room 18CD (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Stephen A Montzka, NOAA/ESRL/Global Monitoring Division, Boulder, CO; and F. Moore, E. Atlas, D. D. Parrish, B. Miller, C. Sweeney, K. McKain, B. D. Hall, C. Siso, M. Crotwell, E. J. Hintsa, J. W. Elkins, D. R. Blake, B. Barletta, S. Meinardi, T. Claxton, and R. Hossaini

Trace gas mole fractions contain the imprint of recent influences on an air mass such as sources, transport, and oxidation. Covariations among the many gases measured from flasks during ATom and HIPPO, and from the ongoing NOAA cooperative air sampling program enable recent influences to be identified from a wide range of sources including industrial activity, biomass burning, emissions from wetlands, and uptake by terrestrial ecosystems. In this work we explore the evolution of trace gas concentrations owing to atmospheric oxidation as air masses pass through the tropics, the atmospheric region with the highest concentrations of the hydroxyl radical. Variations in C2-C5 hydrocarbon concentrations downwind of source regions provide a measure of photochemical ageing in an air mass since emission, but they become less useful when tracking photochemical ageing as air is transported from the NH into the SH owing to their low mixing ratios, lifetimes that are very short relative to transport times, non-industrial sources in the tropics (e.g., biomass burning), and southern hemispheric sources. Instead, we consider a range of trace gases and trace gas pairs that provide a measure of photochemical processing as air transits the tropics. To be useful in this analysis, these trace gases would have lifetimes comparable to interhemispheric transport times, emissions arising from only the NH at constant relative magnitudes, and concentrations sufficient to allow precise and accurate measurements in both hemispheres. Some anthropogenically-emitted chlorinated hydrocarbons meet these requirements and have been measured during ATom, HIPPO, and from NOAA’s ongoing surface sampling efforts. Consideration of these results and their implications for tracking photochemical processing in air as it is transported across the tropics will be presented
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