Shrubland fluxes of methyl bromide and methyl chloride

Rhew, RC, Miller BR, Vollmer MK, Weiss RF.  2001.  Shrubland fluxes of methyl bromide and methyl chloride. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 106:20875-20882.

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atmosphere, biosynthesis, chemistry, degradation, emissions, halomethanes, higher-plants, methane, soils, stratosphere


Flux measurements in coastal sage scrub, chamise chaparral, and creosote bush scrub environments show that methyl bromide (CH(3)Br) and methyl chloride (CH(3)Cl), compounds that are involved in stratospheric ozone depletion, are both produced and consumed by southern California shrubland ecosystems. CH(3)Br and CH(3)Cl are produced in association with a variety of plants and are consumed by the soils, although there is a large variability in the fluxes, depending on predominant vegetation and environmental conditions. At sites with a net uptake of both compounds the fluxes of CH(3)Cl and CH(3)Br show a strong correlation, with a molar ratio of roughly 40:1, pointing to a similar mechanism of consumption. In contrast, the net production rates of these compounds show no apparent correlation with each other. The average observed net CH(3)Br uptake rates are an order of magnitude smaller than the previously reported average soil consumption rates assigned to shrublands. Extrapolations from our field measurements suggest that shrublands globally have a maximum net consumption of <1 Gg yr(-1) for CH(3)Br and < 20 Gg yr(-1) for CH(3)Cl and may, in fact, be net sources for these compounds. Consequently, the measured net fluxes from shrubland ecosystems can account for part of the present imbalance in the CH(3)Br budget by adding a new source term and potentially reducing the soil sink term. These results also suggest that while shrubland soil consumption of CH(3)Cl may be small, soils in general may be a globally significant sink for CH(3)Cl.