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Organic bromine compounds produced in sea ice in Antarctic winter

Journal article
Authors Katarina Abrahamsson
A. Granfors
Martin Ahnoff
C. A. Cuevas
A. Saiz-Lopez
Published in Nature Communications
Volume 9
ISSN 2041-1723
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of marine sciences
Language en
Keywords atmospheric chemistry, iodine chemistry, snow, bromoform, troposphere, ozone, dibromomethane, activation, emissions, halogens
Subject categories Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


During polar springtime, active bromine drives ozone, a greenhouse gas, to near-zero levels. Bromine production and emission in the polar regions have so far been assumed to require sunlight. Here, we report measurements of bromocarbons in sea ice, snow, and air during the Antarctic winter that reveal an unexpected new source of organic bromine to the atmosphere during periods of no sunlight. The results show that Antarctic winter sea ice provides 10 times more bromocarbons to the atmosphere than Southern Ocean waters, and substantially more than summer sea ice. The inclusion of these measurements in a global climate model indicates that the emitted bromocarbons will disperse throughout the troposphere in the southern hemisphere and through photochemical degradation to bromine atoms, contribute similar to 10% to the tropospheric reactive bromine budget. Combined together, our results suggest that winter sea ice could potentially be an important source of atmospheric bromine with implications for atmospheric chemistry and climate at a hemispheric scale.

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