Convective injection and photochemical decay of peroxides in the tropical upper troposphere: Methyl iodide as a tracer of marine convection
- Author(s): Cohan, DS
- Schultz, MG
- Jacob, DJ
- Heikes, BG
- Blake, DR
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1029/98JD01963
The convective injection and subsequent fate of the peroxides H2O2 and CH3OOH in the upper troposphere is investigated using aircraft observations from the NASA Pacific Exploratory Mission-Tropics A (PEM-Tropics A) over the South Pacific up to 12 km altitude. Fresh convective outflow is identified by high CH3I concentrations; CH3I is an excellent tracer of marine convection because of its relatively uniform marine boundary layer concentration, relatively well-defined atmospheric lifetime against photolysis, and high sensitivity of measurement. We find that mixing ratios of CH3OOH in convective outflow at 8-12 km altitude are enhanced on average by a factor of 6 relative to background, while mixing ratios of H2O2 are enhanced by less than a factor of 2. The scavenging efficiency of H2O2 in the precipitation associated with deep convection is estimated to be 55-70%. Scavenging of CH3OOH is negligible. Photolysis of convected peroxides is a major source of the HOx radical family (OH + peroxy radicals) in convective outflow. The timescale for decay of the convective enhancement of peroxides in the upper troposphere is determined using CH3I as a chemical clock and is interpreted using photochemical model calculations. Decline of CH3OOH takes place on a timescale of a 1-2 days, but the resulting HOx converts to H2O2, so H2O2 mixing ratios show no decline for ∼5 days following a convective event. The perturbation to HOx at 8-12 km altitude from deep convective injection of peroxides decays on a timescale of 2-3 days for the PEM-Tropics A conditions. Copyright 1999 by the American Geophysical Union.