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In situ measurements of molecular iodine in the marine boundary layer: the link to macroalgae and the implications for O-3, IO, OIO and NOx

by R. -J. Huang, K. Seitz, J. Buxmann, D. Poehler, K. E. Hornsby, L. J. Carpenter, U. Platt, T. Hoffmann


Discrete in situ atmospheric measurements of molecular iodine (I-2) were carried out at Mace Head and Mweenish Bay on the west coast of Ireland using diffusion denuders in combination with a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) method. I-2, IO and OIO were also measured by long-path differential optical absorption spectroscopy (LP-DOAS). The simultaneous denuder and LP-DOAS I-2 measurements were well correlated (R-2=0.80) but the denuder method recorded much higher concentrations. This can be attributed to the fact that the in situ measurements were made near to macroalgal sources of I-2 in the intertidal zone, whereas the LP-DOAS technique provides distance-averaged mixing ratios of an inhomogeneous distribution along the light-path. The observed mixing ratios of I-2 at Mweenish Bay were significantly higher than that at Mace Head, which is consistent with differences in local algal biomass density and algal species composition. Above algal beds, levels of I-2 were found to correlate inversely with tidal height and positively with the concentrations of O-3 in the surrounding air, indicating a role for O-3 in the production of I-2 from macroalgae, as has been previously suggested from laboratory studies. However, measurements made similar to 150 m away from the algal beds showed a negative correlation between O-3 and I-2 during both day and night. We interpret these results to indicate that the released I-2 can also lead to O-3 destruction via the reaction of O-3 with I atoms that are formed by the photolysis of I-2 during the day and via the reaction of I-2 with NO3 radicals at night. The results show that the concentrations of daytime IO are correlated with the mixing ratios of I-2, and suggest that the local algae sources dominate the inorganic iodine chemistry at Mace Head and Mweenish Bay.

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