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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Pollution-enhanced reactive chlorine chemistry in the eastern tropical Atlantic boundary layer


This study examines atmospheric reactive chlorine chemistry at the Cape Verde Atmospheric Observatory in the eastern tropical Atlantic. During May–June, 2007, Cl2 levels ranged from below detection (∼2 ppt) to 30 ppt. Elevated Cl2 was associated with high HNO3 (40 to 120 ppt) in polluted continental outflow transported in the marine boundary layer (MBL) to the site. Lower Cl2 was observed in recently subsided air masses with multiday free tropospheric oceanic trajectories and in air containing Saharan dust. Model simulations show that the observations of elevated Cl2 in polluted marine air are consistent with initiation of Cl chemistry by OH + HCl and subsequent heterogeneous, autocatalytic Cl cycling involving marine aerosols. Model estimates suggest that Cl atom reactions significantly impact the fates of methane and dimethylsulfide at Cape Verde and are moderately important for ozone cycling.

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