Articles | Volume 15, issue 4
Research article
24 Feb 2015
Research article |  | 24 Feb 2015

An estimation of the 18O / 16O ratio of UT/LMS ozone based on artefact CO in air sampled during CARIBIC flights

S. Gromov and C. A. M. Brenninkmeijer

Abstract. An issue of O3-driven artefact production of O3 in the upper troposphere/lowermost stratosphere (UT/LMS) air analysed in the CARIBIC-1 project is being discussed. By confronting the CO mixing and isotope ratios obtained from different analytical instrumentation, we (i) reject natural/artificial sampling and mixing effects as possible culprits of the problem, (ii) ascertain the chemical nature and quantify the strength of the contamination, and (iii) demonstrate successful application of the isotope mass-balance calculations for inferring the isotope composition of the contamination source. The δ18O values of the latter indicate that the oxygen is very likely being inherited from O3. The δ13C values hint at reactions of trace amounts of organics with stratospheric O3 that could have yielded the artificial CO. While the exact contamination mechanism is not known, it is clear that the issue pertains only to the earlier (first) phase of the CARIBIC (Civil Aircraft for the Regular Investigation of the atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container) project. Finally, estimated UT/LMS ozone δ18O values are lower than those observed in the stratosphere within the same temperature range, suggesting that higher pressures (240–270 hPa) imply lower isotope fractionation controlling the local δ18O(O3) value.

Short summary
We present observational data on δ18O(O3) from the UT/LMS, the region to date not covered by the ozone isotope composition measurements. It is to bridge the gap between the tropospheric (mostly surface) and stratospheric measurement data. We demonstrate an approach suitable for isotope mass-balance calculations (“Keeling plot”) in intricate cases, i.e. admixing of the (unknown) source in question to the reservoirs with (unknown) variable starting compositions.
Final-revised paper