Articles | Volume 13, issue 14
Research article
23 Jul 2013
Research article |  | 23 Jul 2013

Stratospheric lifetimes of CFC-12, CCl4, CH4, CH3Cl and N2O from measurements made by the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment-Fourier Transform Spectrometer (ACE-FTS)

A. T. Brown, C. M. Volk, M. R. Schoeberl, C. D. Boone, and P. F. Bernath

Abstract. Long lived halogen-containing compounds are important atmospheric constituents since they can act both as a source of chlorine radicals, which go on to catalyse ozone loss, and as powerful greenhouse gases. The long-term impact of these species on the ozone layer is dependent on their stratospheric lifetimes. Using observations from the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment Fourier Transform Spectrometer (ACE-FTS) we present calculations of the stratospheric lifetimes of CFC-12, CCl4, CH4, CH3Cl and N2O. The lifetimes were calculated using the slope of the tracer–tracer correlation of these species with CFC-11 at the tropopause. The correlation slopes were corrected for the changing atmospheric concentrations of each species based on age of air and CFC-11 measurements from samples taken aboard the Geophysica aircraft – along with the effective linear trend of the volume mixing ratio (VMR) from tropical ground based AGAGE (Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment) sites. Stratospheric lifetimes were calculated using a CFC-11 lifetime of 45 yr. These calculations produced values of 113 + (−) 26 (18) yr (CFC-12), 35 + (−) 11 (7) yr (CCl4), 69 + (−) 65 (23) yr (CH3Cl), 123 + (−) 53 (28) yr (N2O) and 195 + (−) 75 (42) yr (CH4). The errors on these values are the weighted 1σ non-systematic errors. Systematic errors were estimated by recalculating lifetimes using VMRs which had been modified to reflect differences between ACE-FTS retrieved VMRs and those from other instruments. The results of these calculations, including systematic errors, were as follows: 113 + (−) 32 (20) for CFC-12, 123 + (−) 83 (35) for N2O, 195 + (−) 139 (57) for CH4, 35 + (−) 14 (8) for CCl4 and 69 + (−) 2119 (34) yr for CH3Cl. For CH3Cl & CH4 this represents the first calculation of the stratospheric lifetime using data from a space based instrument.

Final-revised paper