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Patra, PK, Krol MC, Montzka SA, Arnold T, Atlas EL, Lintner BR, Stephens BB, Xiang B, Elkins JW, Fraser PJ, Ghosh A, Hintsa EJ, Hurst DF, Ishijima K, Krummel PB, Miller BR, Miyazaki K, Moore FL, Muhle J, O'Doherty S, Prinn RG, Steele LP, Takigawa M, Wang HJ, Weiss RF, Wofsy SC, Young D.  2014.  Observational evidence for interhemispheric hydroxyl-radical parity. Nature. 513:219-+.   10.1038/nature13721   AbstractWebsite

The hydroxyl radical (OH) is a key oxidant involved in the removal of air pollutants and greenhouse gases from the atmosphere(1-3). The ratio of Northern Hemispheric to Southern Hemispheric (NH/SH) OH concentration is important for our understanding of emission estimates of atmospheric species such as nitrogen oxides and methane(4-6). It remains poorly constrained, however, with a range of estimates from 0.85 to 1.4 (refs 4,7-10). Here we determine the NH/SH ratio of OH with the help of methyl chloroform data (a proxy for OH concentrations) and an atmospheric transport model that accurately describes interhemispheric transport and modelled emissions. We find that for the years 2004-2011 the model predicts an annual mean NH-SH gradient of methyl chloroform that is a tight linear function of the modelled NH/SH ratio in annual mean OH. We estimate a NH/SH OH ratio of 0.97 +/- 0.12 during this time period by optimizing global total emissions and mean OH abundance to fit methyl chloroform data from two surface-measurement networks and aircraft campaigns(11-13). Our findings suggest that top-down emission estimates of reactive species such as nitrogen oxides in key emitting countries in the NH that are based on a NH/SH OH ratio larger than 1 may be overestimated.

Xiao, X, Prinn RG, Fraser PJ, Simmonds PG, Weiss RF, O'Doherty S, Miller BR, Salameh PK, Harth CM, Krummel PB, Porter LW, Muhle J, Greally BR, Cunnold D, Wang R, Montzka SA, Elkins JW, Dutton GS, Thompson TM, Butler JH, Hall BD, Reimann S, Vollmer MK, Stordal F, Lunder C, Maione M, Arduini J, Yokouchi Y.  2010.  Optimal estimation of the surface fluxes of methyl chloride using a 3-D global chemical transport model. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 10:5515-5533.   10.5194/acp-10-5515-2010   AbstractWebsite

Methyl chloride (CH(3)Cl) is a chlorine-containing trace gas in the atmosphere contributing significantly to stratospheric ozone depletion. Large uncertainties in estimates of its source and sink magnitudes and temporal and spatial variations currently exist. GEIA inventories and other bottom-up emission estimates are used to construct a priori maps of the surface fluxes of CH(3)Cl. The Model of Atmospheric Transport and Chemistry (MATCH), driven by NCEP interannually varying meteorological data, is then used to simulate CH(3)Cl mole fractions and quantify the time series of sensitivities of the mole fractions at each measurement site to the surface fluxes of various regional and global sources and sinks. We then implement the Kalman filter (with the unit pulse response method) to estimate the surface fluxes on regional/global scales with monthly resolution from January 2000 to December 2004. High frequency observations from the AGAGE, SOGE, NIES, and NOAA/ESRL HATS in situ networks and low frequency observations from the NOAA/ESRL HATS flask network are used to constrain the source and sink magnitudes. The inversion results indicate global total emissions around 4100 +/- 470 Ggyr(-1) with very large emissions of 2200 +/- 390 Gg yr(-1) from tropical plants, which turn out to be the largest single source in the CH(3)Cl budget. Relative to their a priori annual estimates, the inversion increases global annual fungal and tropical emissions, and reduces the global oceanic source. The inversion implies greater seasonal and interannual oscillations of the natural sources and sink of CH(3)Cl compared to the a priori. The inversion also reflects the strong effects of the 2002/2003 globally widespread heat waves and droughts on global emissions from tropical plants, biomass burning and salt marshes, and on the soil sink.