The Role of Br2 and BrCl in Surface Ozone Destruction at Polar Sunrise

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  19 Jan 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5503, pp. 471-474
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5503.471

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text


Bromine atoms are believed to play a central role in the depletion of surface-level ozone in the Arctic at polar sunrise. Br2, BrCl, and HOBr have been hypothesized as bromine atom precursors, and there is evidence for chlorine atom precursors as well, but these species have not been measured directly. We report here measurements of Br2, BrCl, and Cl2 made using atmospheric pressure chemical ionization–mass spectrometry at Alert, Nunavut, Canada. In addition to Br2 at mixing ratios up to ∼25 parts per trillion, BrCl was found at levels as high as ∼35 parts per trillion. Molecular chlorine was not observed, implying that BrCl is the dominant source of chlorine atoms during polar sunrise, consistent with recent modeling studies. Similar formation of bromine compounds and tropospheric ozone destruction may also occur at mid-latitudes but may not be as apparent owing to more efficient mixing in the boundary layer.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: spicerc{at}

View Full Text