• halocarbons;
  • Arctic;
  • distribution;
  • methyl iodide;
  • bromoform;
  • methyl chloride

[1] Ongoing environmental changes in the Arctic will affect the exchange of natural volatile organic compounds between the atmosphere and the Arctic Ocean. Among these compounds, natural halocarbons play an important role in atmospheric ozone chemistry. We measured the distribution of five major natural halocarbons (methyl iodide, bromoform, dibromomethane, methyl chloride, and methyl bromide) together with dimethyl sulfide and tetrachloroethylene in the atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean (from the Bering Strait to 79°N) and along the cruise path to and from Japan. Methyl iodide, bromoform, and dibromomethane were most abundant near perennial sea ice in air masses derived from coastal regions and least abundant in the northernmost Arctic, where the air masses had passed over the ice pack, whereas methyl chloride and methyl bromide showed the opposite distribution pattern. Factors controlling those distributions and future prospects for natural halocarbons in the Arctic are discussed.