Satellite observations of long range transport of a large BrO plume in the Arctic
1Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
2Institute of Oceanography, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
3Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway
4Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, Brussels, Belgium
Abstract. Ozone Depletion Events (ODE) during polar springtime are a well known phenomenon in the Arctic and Antarctic boundary layer. They are caused by the catalytic destruction of ozone by halogens producing reactive halogen oxides like bromine monoxide (BrO). The key halogen bromine can be rapidly transferred into the gas phase in an autocatalytic process – the so called "Bromine Explosion". However, the exact mechanism, which leads to an initial bromine release as well as the influence of transport and chemical processes on BrO, is still not clearly understood.
In this study, BrO measurements from the satellite instrument GOME-2 are used together with model calculations with the dispersion model FLEXPART to study an arctic BrO event in March 2007, which could be tracked over several days and a large area. Full BrO activation was observed within one day east of Siberia with subsequent transport to Hudson Bay. The event was linked to a cyclone with very high surface wind speeds, which could have been involved in the production and lifting of aerosols or blowing snow. Considering the short life time of BrO, transported aerosols or snow can also provide the surface for BrO recycling within the plume for several days. The evolution of the BrO plume could be reproduced by FLEXPART simulations of a passive tracer indicating that the activated air mass was transported all the way from Siberia to Hudson Bay. To localise the most probable transport height, model runs initialised in different heights have been performed showing similar transport patterns throughout the troposphere but best agreement with the measurements between the surface and 3 km. The influence of changes in tropopause height on measured BrO values has been considered, but cannot completely explain the observed high BrO values. Backward trajectories from the area of BrO initialisation show upward lifting from the surface up to 3 km and no indication for intrusion of stratospheric air. These observations are consistent with a scenario in which bromine in the air mass was activated on the surface within the cyclone, lifted upwards and transported over several thousand kilometres to Hudson Bay.