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Nonmethane hydrocarbon and halocarbon distributions during Atlantic Stratocumulus Transition Experiment/Marine Aerosol and Gas Exchange, June 1992

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Aircraft measurements of selected nonmethane hydrocarbon and halocarbon species were made in the lower troposphere of the NE Atlantic near the Azores, Portugal, during June 1992 as part of the Atlantic Stratocumulus Transition Experiment/Marine Aerosol and Gas Exchange. In this paper, the impact of continental outflow from both Europe and North America on the study region were assessed. Four main air mass types were characterized from trajectories and trace gas concentrations: clean marine from the Atlantic, and continental air from the Iberian Peninsula, the British Isles and Northern Europe, and North America. Each classification exhibited trace gas concentrations that had been modified en route by photochemical processes and mixing. Comparison with the clean marine boundary layer (MBL) shows that the boundary layer of the predominantly continental air masses were enhanced in hydrocarbons and halocarbons by factors of approximately 2 for ethane, 5 for propane, 2-6 for ethyne and benzene, and 2-3 for C2Cl4. The same air masses also exhibited large ozone enhancements, with 2 to 3 times higher mixing ratios in the continental boundary layer air compared to the clean MBL. This indicates a primarily anthropogenic photochemical source for a significant fraction of the lower tropospheric ozone in this region. Methyl bromide exhibited on average 10-20% higher concentrations in the boundary layer affected by continental outflow than in the clean MBL, and was seen to be enhanced in individual plumes of air of continental origin. This is consistent with significant anthropogenic sources for methyl bromide. In addition, median MBL concentrations of ethene and methyl iodide showed enhancements of approximately a factor of 2 above free tropospheric values, suggesting primarily coastal/oceanic sources for these species. Copyright 1996 by the American Geophysical Union.

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