Articles | Volume 11, issue 19
Research article
14 Oct 2011
Research article |  | 14 Oct 2011

Ultraviolet absorption cross sections of carbonyl sulfide isotopologues OC32S, OC33S, OC34S and O13CS: isotopic fractionation in photolysis and atmospheric implications

S. Hattori, S. O. Danielache, M. S. Johnson, J. A. Schmidt, H. G. Kjaergaard, S. Toyoda, Y. Ueno, and N. Yoshida

Abstract. We report measurements of the ultraviolet absorption cross sections of OC32S, OC33S, OC34S and O13CS from 195 to 260 nm. The OCS isotopologues were synthesized from isotopically-enriched elemental sulfur by reaction with carbon monoxide. The measured cross section of OC32S is consistent with literature spectra recorded using natural abundance samples. Relative to the spectrum of the most abundant isotopologue, substitution of heavier rare isotopes has two effects. First, as predicted by the reflection principle, the Gaussian-based absorption envelope becomes slightly narrower and blue-shifted. Second, as predicted by Franck-Condon considerations, the weak vibrational structure is red-shifted. Sulfur isotopic fractionation constants (33ε, 34ε) as a function of wavelength are not highly structured, and tend to be close to zero on average on the high energy side and negative on the low energy side. The integrated photolysis rate of each isotopologue at 20 km, the approximate altitude at which most OCS photolysis occurs, was calculated. Sulfur isotopic fractionation constants at 20 km altitude are (−3.7 ± 4.5)‰ and (1.1 ± 4.2)‰ for 33ε and 34ε, respectively, which is inconsistent with the previously estimated large fractionation of over 73‰ in 34ε. This demonstrates that OCS photolysis does not produce sulfur isotopic fractionation of more than ca. 5‰, suggesting OCS may indeed be a significant source of background stratospheric sulfate aerosols. Finally, the predicted isotopic fractionation constant for 33S excess (33E) in OCS photolysis is (−4.2 ± 6.6)‰, and thus photolysis of OCS is not expected to be the source of the non-mass-dependent signature observed in modern and Archaean samples.

Final-revised paper