Emission of Methyl Bromide from Biomass Burning

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Science  04 Mar 1994:
Vol. 263, Issue 5151, pp. 1255-1257
DOI: 10.1126/science.263.5151.1255


Bromine is, per atom, far more efficient than chlorine in destroying stratospheric ozone, and methyl bromide is the single largest source of stratospheric bromine. The two main previously known sources of this compound are emissions from the ocean and from the compound's use as an agricultural pesticide. Laboratory biomass combustion experiments showed that methyl bromide was emitted in the smoke from various fuels tested. Methyl bromide was also found in smoke plumes from wildfires in savannas, chaparral, and boreal forest. Global emissions of methyl bromide from biomass burning are estimated to be in the range of 10 to 50 gigagrams per year, which is comparable to the amount produced by ocean emission and pesticide use and represents a major contribution (≈30 percent) to the stratospheric bromine budget.