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Nonmethane hydrocarbons in Southern Ocean boundary layer air

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JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
DatePublished - 16 Mar 2001
Issue numberD5
Volume106
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)4987-4994
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Measurements at the remote marine boundary layer station of Cape Grim, Northwest Tasmania, allow study of the unperturbed background atmosphere. Here we present a continuous data series of nonmethane hydrocarbons (NMHCs), measured in situ and with high sensitivity during the Second Southern Ocean Photochemistry Experiment (SOAPEX 2) during austral summer 1999. Air masses arriving at Cape Grim originate from the Australian continent, Tasmania, and Southern Ocean and Antarctic regions. In Southern Ocean marine boundary layer (MBL) air, C-2 and C-3 alkanes show a highly uniform abundance (ethane 142+/-11.9 parts per trillion by volume (pptv), propane 8.9+/-1.7 pptv) at around 4 times lower concentrations than encountered in unpolluted Northern Hemisphere MBL air. The presence of shorter-lived NMHCs in marine air indicates sources of both C-4-C-6 alkanes and several alkenes in the Southern Ocean. The alkane isomer distributions and abundances are in broad agreement with literature sea-air flux rates. In dynamically stable maritime air, midday maxima in ethene, propene, and isoprene concentrations of a few pptv indicate photochemically driven sources very near to the sea surface. Despite their high reactivity, the impact of these ocean ic alkenes on local OH concentrations in remote MBL air is not significant. However, the abundance of isoprene in marine air may significantly elevate formaldehyde above that generated by methane oxidation.

    Research areas

  • SURFACE MICROLAYER, DIMETHYL SULFIDE, NORTH-ATLANTIC, MARINE AIR, MACE-HEAD, ISOPRENE, SEAWATER, SEA, ENRICHMENT, MECHANISM

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