Atmospheric Methyl Bromide (CH3Br) from Agricultural Soil Fumigations

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Science  31 Mar 1995:
Vol. 267, Issue 5206, pp. 1979-1981
DOI: 10.1126/science.267.5206.1979


The treatment of agricultural soils with CH3Br (MeBr) has been suggested to be a significant source of atmospheric MeBr which is involved in stratospheric ozone loss. A field fumigation experiment showed that, after 7 days, 34 percent of the applied MeBr had escaped into the atmosphere. The remaining 66 percent should have caused an increase in bromide in the soil; soil bromide increased by an amount equal to 70 percent of the applied MeBr, consistent with the flux measurements to within 4 percent. Comparison with an earlier experiment in which the escape of MeBr to the atmosphere was greater showed that higher soil pH, organic content and soil moisture, and deeper, more uniform injection of MeBr may in combination reduce the escape of MeBr.