Title: In Situ Production of Methyl Chloride in Siple Dome and WAIS Divide Ice Cores from Antarctica
Author: Frausto-Vicencio, I., Verhulst, K.R., Aydin, M. and Saltzman, E.S.
Periodical: American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2013, abstract #C13A-0657

Methyl chloride (CH3Cl) is a naturally-occurring halocarbon with a global mean abundance of 550 pmol mol-1 and a lifetime of about 1 year. It constitutes about 16% of the total chlorine burden in the stratosphere. The sources of methyl chloride are mainly natural and include tropical vegetation, oceans and biomass burning. Oxidation with the hydroxyl radical is the primary removal mechanism with additional loss via microbial degradation in soils and in the oceans. Previous measurements suggest ice cores from cold Antarctic sites (Dome Fuji, South Pole, Taylor Dome) preserve a record of atmospheric CH3Cl variability during the Holocene (Saito et al., 2007; Williams et al., 2007; Verhulst et al., in review). However, measurements at Siple Dome displayed evidence of in situ enhancement (Saltzman et al., 2009). This study involves new CH3Cl measurements in 117 ice core samples from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide (WAIS-D) 06A ice core. Measurements from the Holocene are compared with earlier CH3Cl measurements from Taylor Dome and Siple Dome. In Late Holocene ice (5-0 ky BP), the WAIS-D and Siple Dome show evidence of in situ CH3Cl enrichment. The mean level and scatter are both larger than in Taylor Dome ice of the same age. The in situ enrichment is not time or depth-dependent. Interestingly, for most of the Early Holocene (11-5 ky BP), Siple Dome and WAIS-D exhibit less scatter and are closer to the Taylor Dome ice core data. In situ CH3Cl production may be purely chemical or involve biological reactions. Here, we investigate whether the excess CH3Cl in the Siple Dome and the WAIS-D ice cores can be explained by differences in ice chemistry between the various Antarctic sites. The results of this research will help establish the causes of CH3Cl production in ice cores and provide a basis to assess the possibility of studying long-term atmospheric CH3Cl variability using ice core data.

Year: 2013