Short-lived halocarbons were measured in Arctic sea-ice brine, seawater and air above the Greenland and Norwegian seas (∼81°N, 2 to 5°E) in mid-summer, from a melting ice floe at the edge of the ice pack. In the ice floe, concentrations of C2H5I, 2-C3H7I and CH2Br2 showed significant enhancement in the sea ice brine, of average factors of 1.7, 1.4 and 2.5 times respectively, compared to the water underneath and after normalising to brine volume. Concentrations of mono-iodocarbons in air are the highest ever reported, and our calculations suggest increased fluxes of halocarbons to the atmosphere may result from their sea-ice enhancement. Some halocarbons were also measured in ice of the sub-Arctic in Hudson Bay (∼55°N, 77°W) in early spring, ice that was thicker, colder and less porous than the Arctic ice in summer, and in which the halocarbons were concentrated to values over 10 times larger than in the Arctic ice when normalised to brine volume. Concentrations in the Arctic ice were similar to those in Antarctic sea ice that was similarly warm and porous. As climate warms and Arctic sea ice becomes more like that of the Antarctic, our results lead us to expect the production of iodocarbons and so of reactive iodine gases to increase.
Authors: Atkinson, Helen M., Hughes, Claire, Shaw, Marvin J., Roscoe, Howard K., Carpenter, Lucy J., Liss, Peter S.