Articles | Volume 12, issue 2
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 757–768, 2012
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 757–768, 2012

Research article 17 Jan 2012

Research article | 17 Jan 2012

Global distributions of acetone in the upper troposphere from MIPAS spectra

D. P. Moore1, J. J. Remedios1, and A. M. Waterfall2 D. P. Moore et al.
  • 1Earth Observation Science Group, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, UK
  • 2STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Didcot, UK

Abstract. This study reports the first global measurements of acetone (C3H6O) in the upper troposphere (UT). Profiles were obtained between 9 km and 15 km from measurements made by the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) onboard Envisat in August 2003. Errors per profile are lower than 40 % between 180 hPa and 350 hPa. We report strong hemispheric differences in the acetone volume mixing ratios (VMRs), with average concentrations highest in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) mid-latitude UT, between 1000 pptv and 1600 pptv with maxima up to 2300 pptv. Our results show a strong enhancement of acetone relative to CO, particularly over Europe (7 pptv ppbv−1), confirming aircraft studies. Ten-day backward trajectories from these high European values show strong contributions from air flows over North America (56 %) and 25 % from Southernmost Asia. Enhanced acetone is also observed over Greenland, Siberia and biomass burning regions of Africa. Zonal distributions show that acetone VMRs decrease rapidly with increasing altitude (decreasing pressure), particularly in the NH. Poleward of 45° S, acetone VMRs remain fairly consistent with average VMRs between 400 pptv and 500 pptv. In 5-day averages at 9 km, NH VMRs poleward of 45° N are consistently higher than Southern Hemisphere observations poleward of 45° S, by between 750 pptv and 1100 pptv. The results show a clear influence of mid-latitude and transport processes on the acetone summertime distribution.

Final-revised paper