Articles | Volume 9, issue 8
30 Apr 2009
 | 30 Apr 2009

The contribution of anthropogenic bromine emissions to past stratospheric ozone trends: a modelling study

B.-M. Sinnhuber, N. Sheode, M. Sinnhuber, M. P. Chipperfield, and W. Feng

Abstract. Bromine compounds play an important role in the depletion of stratospheric ozone. We have calculated the changes in stratospheric ozone in response to changes in the halogen loading over the past decades, using a two-dimensional (latitude/height) model constrained by source gas mixing ratios at the surface. Model calculations of the decrease of total column ozone since 1980 agree reasonably well with observed ozone trends, in particular when the contribution from very short-lived bromine compounds is included. Model calculations with bromine source gas mixing ratios fixed at 1959 levels, corresponding approximately to a situation with no anthropogenic bromine emissions, show an ozone column reduction between 1980 and 2005 at Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes of only ≈55% compared to a model run including all halogen source gases. In this sense anthropogenic bromine emissions are responsible for ≈45% of the model estimated column ozone loss at Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes. However, since a large fraction of the bromine induced ozone loss is due to the combined BrO/ClO catalytic cycle, the effect of bromine would have been smaller in the absence of anthropogenic chlorine emissions. The chemical efficiency of bromine relative to chlorine for global total ozone depletion from our model calculations, expressed by the so called α-factor, is 64 on an annual average. This value is much higher than previously published results. Updates in reaction rate constants can explain only part of the differences in α. The inclusion of bromine from very short-lived source gases has only a minor effect on the global mean α-factor.

Final-revised paper