Articles | Volume 3, issue 4
27 Aug 2003
27 Aug 2003

Origin of anthropogenic hydrocarbons and halocarbons measured in the summertime european outflow (on Crete in 2001)

V. Gros, J. Williams, J. A. van Aardenne, G. Salisbury, R. Hofmann, M. G. Lawrence, R. von Kuhlmann, J. Lelieveld, M. Krol, H. Berresheim, J. M. Lobert, and E. Atlas

Abstract. During the Mediterranean Intensive Oxidant Study MINOS in August 2001, 87 air samples were collected at the ground-based station Finokalia (35°19'N, 25°40'E) on the north coast of Crete and subsequently analysed by GC-MS. The analysis includes various hydrocarbons, organo-halogens, HCFCs and CFCs. These compounds have a wide variety of sources and sinks and a large range of atmospheric lifetimes. We evaluated the characteristics of the sampling site in terms of proximity to individual sources by plotting the measured variability of these species against lifetime. The resulting linear relationship suggests that the sampling site is representative of intermediate conditions between a remote site and one that is in the vicinity of a wide variety of sources. Our analysis of air mass origin and chemical ratios also shows that several distinct anthropogenic sources influenced the atmospheric composition over Crete. Propane observations are compared to a global model to assess the fossil fuel related emission inventory. Although the model reproduces the general pattern of the propane variations, the model mixing ratios are systematically too low by a factor of 1.5 to 3, probably due to an underestimation of the propane emissions from east European countries in the underlying global database EDGAR. Another important finding was that methyl chloroform, a compound banned under the Montreal protocol, showed significant enhancements from background, which were well correlated with CFC-113. This suggests continued use and emission of methyl chloroform by one or more European countries. We also discuss the observed variations of methyl bromide and suggest that the significant peak observed on 12 August 2001 reflects heavy agricultural use as a soil fumigant in Italy.

Final-revised paper