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Chemosphere. 2003 Jul;52(2):325-38.

The role of halogen species in the troposphere.

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Institut für Umweltphysik, University of Heidelberg, INF 229, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


While the role of reactive halogen species (e.g. Cl, Br) in the destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer is well known, their role in the troposphere was investigated only since their destructive effect on boundary layer ozone after polar sunrise became obvious. During these 'Polar Tropospheric Ozone Hole' events O(3) is completely destroyed in the lowest approximately 1000 m of the atmosphere on areas of several million square kilometres. Up to now it was assumed that these events were confined to the polar regions during springtime. However, during the last few years significant amounts of BrO and Cl-atoms were also found outside the Arctic and Antarctic boundary layer. Recently even higher BrO mixing ratios (up to 176 ppt) were detected by optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) in the Dead Sea basin during summer. In addition, evidence is accumulating that BrO (at levels around 1-2 ppt) is also occurring in the free troposphere at all latitudes. In contrast to the stratosphere, where halogens are released from species, which are very long lived in the troposphere, likely sources of boundary layer Br and Cl are autocatalytic oxidation of sea salt halides (the 'Bromine Explosion'), while precursors of free tropospheric BrO and coastal IO probably are short-lived organo-halogen species. At the levels suggested by the available measurements reactive halogen species have a profound effect on tropospheric chemistry: In the polar boundary layer during 'halogen events' ozone is usually completely lost within hours or days. In the free troposphere the effective O(3)-losses due to halogens could be comparable to the known photochemical O(3) destruction. Further interesting consequences include the increase of OH levels and (at low NO(X)) the decrease of the HO(2)/OH ratio in the free troposphere.

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