Publications

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2014
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.

2010
Rigby, M, Muhle J, Miller BR, Prinn RG, Krummel PB, Steele LP, Fraser PJ, Salameh PK, Harth CM, Weiss RF, Greally BR, O'Doherty S, Simmonds PG, Vollmer MK, Reimann S, Kim J, Kim KR, Wang HJ, Olivier JGJ, Dlugokencky EJ, Dutton GS, Hall BD, Elkins JW.  2010.  History of atmospheric SF6 from 1973 to 2008. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 10:10305-10320.   10.5194/acp-10-10305-2010   AbstractWebsite

We present atmospheric sulfur hexafluoride (SF(6)) mole fractions and emissions estimates from the 1970s to 2008. Measurements were made of archived air samples starting from 1973 in the Northern Hemisphere and from 1978 in the Southern Hemisphere, using the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE) gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric (GC-MS) systems. These measurements were combined with modern high-frequency GC-MS and GC-electron capture detection (ECD) data from AGAGE monitoring sites, to produce a unique 35-year atmospheric record of this potent greenhouse gas. Atmospheric mole fractions were found to have increased by more than an order of magnitude between 1973 and 2008. The 2008 growth rate was the highest recorded, at 0.29 +/- 0.02 pmol mol(-1) yr(-1). A three-dimensional chemical transport model and a minimum variance Bayesian inverse method was used to estimate annual emission rates using the measurements, with a priori estimates from the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR, version 4). Consistent with the mole fraction growth rate maximum, global emissions during 2008 were also the highest in the 1973-2008 period, reaching 7.4 +/- 0.6 Gg yr(-1) (1-sigma uncertainties) and surpassing the previous maximum in 1995. The 2008 values follow an increase in emissions of 48 +/- 20% since 2001. A second global inversion which also incorporated National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) flask measurements and in situ monitoring site data agreed well with the emissions derived using AGAGE measurements alone. By estimating continent-scale emissions using all available AGAGE and NOAA surface measurements covering the period 2004-2008, with no pollution filtering, we find that it is likely that much of the global emissions rise during this five-year period originated primarily from Asian developing countries that do not report detailed, annual emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We also find it likely that SF(6) emissions reported to the UNFCCC were underestimated between at least 2004 and 2005.

Muhle, J, Ganesan AL, Miller BR, Salameh PK, Harth CM, Greally BR, Rigby M, Porter LW, Steele LP, Trudinger CM, Krummel PB, O'Doherty S, Fraser PJ, Simmonds PG, Prinn RG, Weiss RF.  2010.  Perfluorocarbons in the global atmosphere: tetrafluoromethane, hexafluoroethane, and octafluoropropane. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 10:5145-5164.   10.5194/acp-10-5145-2010   AbstractWebsite

We present atmospheric baseline growth rates from the 1970s to the present for the long-lived, strongly infrared-absorbing perfluorocarbons (PFCs) tetrafluoromethane (CF(4)), hexafluoroethane (C(2)F(6)), and octafluoropropane (C(3)F(8)) in both hemispheres, measured with improved accuracies (similar to 1-2%) and precisions (<0.3%, or <0.2 ppt (parts per trillion dry air mole fraction), for CF(4); <1.5%, or <0.06 ppt, for C(2)F(6); <4.5%, or <0.02 ppt, for C3F8) within the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE). Pre-industrial background values of 34.7 +/- 0.2 ppt CF(4) and 0.1 +/- 0.02 ppt C(2)F(6) were measured in air extracted from Greenland ice and Antarctic firn. Anthropogenic sources are thought to be primary aluminum production (CF(4), C(2)F(6), C(3)F(8)), semiconductor production (C(2)F(6), CF(4), C(3)F(8)) and refrigeration use (C(3)F(8)). Global emissions calculated with the AGAGE 2-D 12-box model are significantly higher than most previous emission estimates. The sum of CF(4) and C(2)F(6) emissions estimated from aluminum production and non-metal production are lower than observed global top-down emissions, with gaps of similar to 6 Gg/yr CF(4) in recent years. The significant discrepancies between previous CF(4), C(2)F(6), and C(3)F(8) emission estimates and observed global top-down emissions estimated from AGAGE measurements emphasize the need for more accurate, transparent, and complete emission reporting, and for verification with atmospheric measurements to assess the emission sources of these long-lived and potent greenhouse gases, which alter the radiative budget of the atmosphere, essentially permanently, once emitted.

2008
Deeds, DA, Vollmer MK, Kulongoski JT, Miller BR, Muhle J, Harth CM, Izbicki JA, Hilton DR, Weiss RF.  2008.  Evidence for crustal degassing of CF4 and SF6 in Mojave Desert groundwaters. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta. 72:999-1013.   10.1016/j.gca.2007.11.027   AbstractWebsite

Dissolved tetrafluoromethane (CF(4)) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF(6)) concentrations were measured in groundwater samples from the Eastern Morongo Basin (EMB) and Mojave River Basin (MRB) located in the southern Mojave Desert, California. Both CF(4) and SF(6) are supersaturated with respect to equilibrium with the preindustrial atmosphere at the recharge temperatures and elevations of the Mojave Desert. These observations provide the first in situ evidence for a flux of CF(4) from the lithosphere. A gradual basin-wide enhancement in dissolved CF(4) and SF(6) concentrations with groundwater age is consistent with release of these gases during weathering of the surrounding granitic alluvium. Dissolved CF(4) and SF(6) concentrations in these groundwaters also contain a deeper crustal component associated with a lithospheric flux entering the EMB and MRB through the underlying basement. The crustal flux of CF(4), but not of SF(6), is enhanced in the vicinity of local active fault systems due to release of crustal fluids during episodic fracture events driven by local tectonic activity. When fluxes of CF(4) and SF(6) into Mojave Desert groundwaters are extrapolated to the global scale they are consistent, within large uncertainties, with the fluxes required to sustain the preindustrial atmospheric abundances of CF(4) and SF(6). (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

2001
Alexander, B, Vollmer MK, Jackson T, Weiss RF, Thiemens MH.  2001.  Stratospheric CO2 isotopic anomalies and SF6 and CFC tracer concentrations in the Arctic polar vortex. Geophysical Research Letters. 28:4103-4106.   10.1029/2001gl013692   AbstractWebsite

Isotopic measurements (delta O-17 and delta O-18) Of CO2 along with concentration measurements of SF6, CC1(3)F (CFC-11), CC1(2)F(2) (CFC-12) and CC1(2)FCC1F(2) (CFC-113) in stratospheric samples collected within the Arctic polar vortex are reported. These are the first simultaneous measurements of the concentration of fluorinated compounds and the complete oxygen isotopic composition Of CO2 in the middle atmosphere. A mass-independent anomaly in the oxygen isotopic composition Of CO2 is observed that arises from isotopic exchange with stratospheric O(D-1) derived from O-3 photolysis. The data exhibit a strong anti-correlation between the Delta O-17 (the degree of the mass-independent anomaly) and molecular tracer concentrations. The potential ability of tl-ris isotopic proxy to trace mesospheric and stratospheric transport is discussed.