• Open Access

A new interpretation of total column BrO during Arctic spring



[1] Emission of bromine from sea-salt aerosol, frost flowers, ice leads, and snow results in the nearly complete removal of surface ozone during Arctic spring. Regions of enhanced total column BrO observed by satellites have traditionally been associated with these emissions. However, airborne measurements of BrO and O3 within the convective boundary layer (CBL) during the ARCTAS and ARCPAC field campaigns at times bear little relation to enhanced column BrO. We show that the locations of numerous satellite BrO “hotspots” during Arctic spring are consistent with observations of total column ozone and tropopause height, suggesting a stratospheric origin to these regions of elevated BrO. Tropospheric enhancements of BrO large enough to affect the column abundance are also observed, with important contributions originating from above the CBL. Closure of the budget for total column BrO, albeit with significant uncertainty, is achieved by summing observed tropospheric partial columns with calculated stratospheric partial columns provided that natural, short-lived biogenic bromocarbons supply between 5 and 10 ppt of bromine to the Arctic lowermost stratosphere. Proper understanding of bromine and its effects on atmospheric composition requires accurate treatment of geographic variations in column BrO originating from both the stratosphere and troposphere.