Extreme C-13 depletion of CCl2F2 in firn air samples from NEEM, Greenland
A series of 12 high volume air samples collected from the S2 firn core during the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) 2009 campaign have been measured for mixing ratio and stable carbon isotope composition of the chlorofluorocarbon CFC-12 (CCl2F2). While the mixing ratio measurements compare favorably to other firn air studies, the isotope results show extreme C-13 depletion at the deepest measurable depth (65 m), to values lower than delta C-13 = -80 parts per thousand vs. VPDB (the international stable carbon isotope scale), compared to present day surface tropospheric measurements near -40 parts per thousand. Firn air modeling was used to interpret these measurements. Reconstructed atmospheric time series indicate even larger depletions (to -120 parts per thousand) near 1950 AD, with subsequent rapid enrichment of the atmospheric reservoir of the compound to the present day value. Mass-balance calculations show that this change is likely to have been caused by a large change in the isotopic composition of anthropogenic CFC-12 emissions, probably due to technological advances in the CFC production process over the last 80 yr, though direct evidence is lacking.