Global sources and distribution of atmospheric methyl chloride
MetadataShow full item record
Global simulations of atmospheric methyl chloride (CH3Cl) are conducted using the GEOS-Chem model in order to understand better its sources and sinks. Though CH3Cl is one of the most abundant organic chlorine species in the stratosphere, not much is known about its sources and the budget remains unbalanced. In addition to the known sources (1.5 Tg yr-1) from ocean, biomass burning, incineration/industry, salt marshes, and wetlands, a hypothetical aseasonal biogenic source of 2.9 Tg yr-1 is added in order to match needed emissions. Observations from 7 surface sites and 8 aircraft field experiments are used to evaluate the model simulations. The model results with a priori emissions and sinks reproduce CH3Cl observations at northern mid and high latitudes reasonably well. However, the seasonal variation of CH3Cl at southern mid and high latitudes is severely overestimated. Simulated vertical profiles show disagreements in the vicinities of major sources, principally reflecting the uncertainties in the estimated distributions of our added pseudo-biogenic and the biomass burning sources. Inverse modeling is applied to obtain optimal source distributions of CH3Cl on the basis of surface and aircraft observations and model results. We resolve the seasonal dependence of the biogenic and biomass burning sources for each hemisphere. The aircraft in situ measurements are found to provide better constraints on the emission sources than surface measurements. The a posteriori emissions result in better agreement with the observations particularly at southern high latitudes. The a posteriori biogenic and biomass burning source decrease by 13 and 11% to 2500 and 545 Gg yr-1, respectively, while the a posteriori net ocean source increases by about a factor of 2 to 761 Gg yr-1. The decrease in biomass burning emissions is largely due to the reduction in the emissions in seasons other than spring in the northern hemisphere. The inversion results indicate that the biogenic source has a clear winter minimum in both hemispheres, likely reflecting the decrease of biogenic activity during that season.