Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Distributions of brominated organic compounds in the troposphere and lower stratosphere


  • S. M. Schauffler,

  • E. L. Atlas,

  • D. R. Blake,

  • F. Flocke,

  • R. A. Lueb,

  • J. M. Lee-Taylor,

  • V. Stroud,

  • W. Travnicek


A comprehensive suite of brominated organic compounds was measured from whole air samples collected during the 1996 NASA Stratospheric Tracers of Atmospheric Transport aircraft campaign and the 1996 NASA Global Tropospheric Experiment Pacific Exploratory Mission-Tropics aircraft campaign. Measurements of individual species and total organic bromine were utilized to describe latitudinal and vertical distributions in the troposphere and lower stratosphere, fractional contributions to total organic bromine by individual species, fractional dissociation of the long-lived species relative to CFC-11, and the Ozone Depletion Potential of the halons and CH3Br. Spatial differences in the various organic brominated compounds were related to their respective sources and chemical lifetimes. The difference between tropospheric mixing ratios in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres for halons was approximately equivalent to their annual tropospheric growth rates, while the interhemispheric ratio of CH3Br was 1.18. The shorter-lived brominated organic species showed larger tropospheric mixing ratios in the tropics relative to midlatitudes, which may reflect marine biogenic sources. Significant vertical gradients in the troposphere were observed for the short-lived species with upper troposphere values 40–70% of the lower troposphere values. Much smaller vertical gradients (3–14%) were observed for CH3Br, and no significant vertical gradients were observed for the halons. Above the tropopause, the decrease in organic bromine compounds was found to have some seasonal and latitudinal differences. The combined losses of the individual compounds resulted in a loss of total organic bromine between the tropopause and 20 km of 38–40% in the tropics and 75–85% in midlatitudes. The fractional dissociation of the halons and CH3Br relative to CFC-11 showed latitudinal differences, with larger values in the tropics.