Field and satellite observations of the formation and distribution of Arctic atmospheric bromine above a rejuvenated sea ice cover



[1] Recent drastic reduction of the older perennial sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has resulted in a vast expansion of younger and saltier seasonal sea ice. This increase in the salinity of the overall ice cover could impact tropospheric chemical processes. Springtime perennial ice extent in 2008 and 2009 broke the half-century record minimum in 2007 by about one million km2. In both years seasonal ice was dominant across the Beaufort Sea extending to the Amundsen Gulf, where significant field and satellite observations of sea ice, temperature, and atmospheric chemicals have been made. Measurements at the site of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen ice breaker in the Amundsen Gulf showed events of increased bromine monoxide (BrO), coupled with decreases of ozone (O3) and gaseous elemental mercury (GEM), during cold periods in March 2008. The timing of the main event of BrO, O3, and GEM changes was found to be consistent with BrO observed by satellites over an extensive area around the site. Furthermore, satellite sensors detected a doubling of atmospheric BrO in a vortex associated with a spiral rising air pattern. In spring 2009, excessive and widespread bromine explosions occurred in the same region while the regional air temperature was low and the extent of perennial ice was significantly reduced compared to the case in 2008. Using satellite observations together with a Rising-Air-Parcel model, we discover a topographic control on BrO distribution such that the Alaskan North Slope and the Canadian Shield region were exposed to elevated BrO, whereas the surrounding mountains isolated the Alaskan interior from bromine intrusion.