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Thompson, RL, Patra PK, Ishijima K, Saikawa E, Corazza M, Karstens U, Wilson C, Bergamaschi P, Dlugokencky E, Sweeney C, Prinn RG, Weiss RF, O'Doherty S, Fraser PJ, Steele LP, Krummel PB, Saunois M, Chipperfield M, Bousquet P.  2014.  TransCom N2O model inter-comparison - Part 1: Assessing the influence of transport and surface fluxes on tropospheric N2O variability. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 14:4349-4368.   10.5194/acp-14-4349-2014   AbstractWebsite

We present a comparison of chemistry-transport models (TransCom-N2O) to examine the importance of atmospheric transport and surface fluxes on the variability of N2O mixing ratios in the troposphere. Six different models and two model variants participated in the inter-comparison and simulations were made for the period 2006 to 2009. In addition to N2O, simulations of CFC-12 and SF6 were made by a subset of four of the models to provide information on the models' proficiency in stratosphere-troposphere exchange (STE) and meridional transport, respectively. The same prior emissions were used by all models to restrict differences among models to transport and chemistry alone. Four different N2O flux scenarios totalling between 14 and 17 TgN yr(-1) (for 2005) globally were also compared. The modelled N2O mixing ratios were assessed against observations from in situ stations, discrete air sampling networks and aircraft. All models adequately captured the large-scale patterns of N2O and the vertical gradient from the troposphere to the stratosphere and most models also adequately captured the N2O tropospheric growth rate. However, all models underestimated the inter-hemispheric N2O gradient by at least 0.33 parts per billion (ppb), equivalent to 1.5 TgN, which, even after accounting for an overestimate of emissions in the Southern Ocean of circa 1.0 TgN, points to a likely underestimate of the Northern Hemisphere source by up to 0.5 TgN and/or an overestimate of STE in the Northern Hemisphere. Comparison with aircraft data reveal that the models over-estimate the amplitude of the N2O seasonal cycle at Hawaii (21 degrees N, 158 degrees W) below circa 6000 m, suggesting an overestimate of the importance of stratosphere to troposphere transport in the lower troposphere at this latitude. In the Northern Hemisphere, most of the models that provided CFC-12 simulations captured the phase of the CFC-12, seasonal cycle, indicating a reasonable representation of the timing of STE. However, for N2O all models simulated a too early minimum by 2 to 3 months owing to errors in the seasonal cycle in the prior soil emissions, which was not adequately represented by the terrestrial biosphere model. In the Southern Hemisphere, most models failed to capture the N2O and CFC-12 seasonality at Cape Grim, Tasmania, and all failed at the South Pole, whereas for SF6, all models could capture the seasonality at all sites, suggesting that there are large errors in modelled vertical transport in high southern latitudes.

Simmonds, PG, Manning AJ, Athanassiadou M, Scaife AA, Derwent RG, O'Doherty S, Harth CM, Weiss RF, Dutton GS, Hall BD, Sweeney C, Elkins JW.  2013.  Interannual fluctuations in the seasonal cycle of nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons due to the Brewer-Dobson circulation. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 118:10694-10706.   10.1002/jgrd.50832   AbstractWebsite

The tropospheric seasonal cycles of N2O, CFC-11 (CCl3F), and CFC-12 (CCl2F2) are influenced by atmospheric dynamics. The interannually varying summertime minima in mole fractions of these trace gases have been attributed to interannual variations in mixing of stratospheric air (depleted in CFCs and N2O) with tropospheric air with a few months lag. The amount of wave activity that drives the stratospheric circulation and influences the winter stratospheric jet and subsequent mass transport across the tropopause appears to be the primary cause of this interannual variability. We relate the observed seasonal minima of species at three Northern Hemisphere sites (Mace Head, Ireland; Trinidad Head, U.S.; and Barrow, Alaska) with the behavior of the winter stratospheric jet. As a result, a good correlation is obtained between zonal winds in winter at 10 hPa, 58°N–68°N, and the detrended seasonal minima in the stratosphere-influenced tracers. For these three tracers, individual Pearson correlation coefficients (r) between 0.51 and 0.71 were found, with overall correlations of between 0.67 and 0.77 when “composite species” were considered. Finally, we note that the long-term observations of CFCs and N2O in the troposphere provide an independent monitoring method complementary to satellite data. Furthermore, they could provide a useful observational measure of the strength of stratosphere-troposphere exchange and, thus, could be used to monitor any long-term trend in the Brewer-Dobson circulation which is predicted by climate models to increase over the coming decades.

Rigby, M, Prinn RG, O'Doherty S, Montzka SA, McCulloch A, Harth CM, Muhle J, Salameh PK, Weiss RF, Young D, Simmonds PG, Hall BD, Dutton GS, Nance D, Mondeel DJ, Elkins JW, Krummel PB, Steele LP, Fraser PJ.  2013.  Re-evaluation of the lifetimes of the major CFCs and CH3CCl3 using atmospheric trends. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 13:2691-2702.   10.5194/acp-13-2691-2013   AbstractWebsite

Since the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and its amendments came into effect, growth rates of the major ozone depleting substances (ODS), particularly CFC-11, -12 and -113 and CH3CCl3, have declined markedly, paving the way for global stratospheric ozone recovery. Emissions have now fallen to relatively low levels, therefore the rate at which this recovery occurs will depend largely on the atmospheric lifetime of these compounds. The first ODS measurements began in the early 1970s along with the first lifetime estimates calculated by considering their atmospheric trends. We now have global mole fraction records spanning multiple decades, prompting this lifetime re-evaluation. Using surface measurements from the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Global Monitoring Division (NOAA GMD) from 1978 to 2011, we estimated the lifetime of CFC-11, CFC-12, CFC-113 and CH3CCl3 usin!

Nevison, CD, Dlugokencky E, Dutton G, Elkins JW, Fraser P, Hall B, Krummel PB, Langenfelds RL, O'Doherty S, Prinn RG, Steele LP, Weiss RF.  2011.  Exploring causes of interannual variability in the seasonal cycles of tropospheric nitrous oxide. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 11:3713-3730.   10.5194/acp-11-3713-2011   AbstractWebsite

Seasonal cycles in the mixing ratios of tropospheric nitrous oxide (N(2)O) are derived by detrending long-term measurements made at sites across four global surface monitoring networks. The detrended monthly data display large interannual variability, which at some sites challenges the concept of a "mean" seasonal cycle. In the Northern Hemisphere, correlations between polar winter lower stratospheric temperature and detrended N(2)O data, around the month of the seasonal minimum, provide empirical evidence for a stratospheric influence, which varies in strength from year to year and can explain much of the interannual variability in the surface seasonal cycle. Even at sites where a strong, competing, regional N(2)O source exists, such as from coastal upwelling at Trinidad Head, California, the stratospheric influence must be understood to interpret the biogeochemical signal in monthly mean data. In the Southern Hemisphere, detrended surface N(2)O monthly means are correlated with polar spring lower stratospheric temperature in months preceding the N(2)O minimum, providing empirical evidence for a coherent stratospheric influence in that hemisphere as well, in contrast to some recent atmospheric chemical transport model (ACTM) results. Correlations between the phasing of the surface N(2)O seasonal cycle in both hemispheres and both polar lower stratospheric temperature and polar vortex break-up date provide additional support for a stratospheric influence. The correlations discussed above are generally more evident in high-frequency in situ data than in data from weekly flask samples. Furthermore, the interannual variability in the N(2)O seasonal cycle is not always correlated among in situ and flask networks that share common sites, nor do the mean seasonal amplitudes always agree. The importance of abiotic influences such as the stratospheric influx and tropospheric transport on N(2)O seasonal cycles suggests that, at sites remote from local sources, surface N(2)O mixing ratio data by themselves are unlikely to provide information about seasonality in surface sources, e. g., for atmospheric inversions, unless the ACTMs employed in the inversions accurately account for these influences. An additional abioitc influence is the seasonal ingassing and outgassing of cooling and warming surface waters, which creates a thermal signal in tropospheric N(2)O that is of particular importance in the extratropical Southern Hemisphere, where it competes with the biological ocean source signal.

Bill, M, Rhew RC, Weiss RF, Goldstein AH.  2002.  Carbon isotope ratios of methyl bromide and methyl chloride emitted from a coastal salt marsh. Geophysical Research Letters. 29   10.1029/2001gl012946   AbstractWebsite

[1] Methyl bromide (CH3Br) and methyl chloride (CH3Cl) play important roles in stratospheric ozone depletion, but their atmospheric budgets have large uncertainties. The analysis of stable isotope composition of methyl halides may provide useful independent information for further constraining their budgets. Here we report the first measurements of CH3Br and CH3Cl stable carbon isotope ratios emitted from a biogenic source under in situ conditions. CH3Br and CH3Cl emissions from the salt marsh plant Batis maritima showed a strong diurnal variation in delta(13)C, from -65parts per thousand during the daytime to --12parts per thousand at night. The minimum delta(13)C values were observed at midday, coinciding with the time of greatest emissions and ambient temperature. At night, when the emissions were much smaller, the stable carbon isotopic ratios of CH3Br and CH3Cl became enriched in C-13. The daily mean delta(13)C of CH3Br and CH3Cl emissions, weighted by emission rate, were -43parts per thousand and -62parts per thousand respectively.

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.