Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Group
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Modelling the impacts of iodine chemistry on thenorthern Indian Ocean marine boundary layer

Anoop S. Mahajan, Qinyi Li, Swaleha Inamdar, Kirpa Ram, Alba Badia and Alfonso Saiz-Lopez

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21, 8437–8454, 2021


Recent observations have shown the ubiquitous presence of iodine oxide (IO) in the Indian Ocean marine boundary layer (MBL). In this study, we use the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem version 3.7.1), including halogen (Br, Cl, and I) sources and chemistry, to quantify the impacts of the observed levels of iodine on the chemical composition of the MBL. The model results show that emissions of inorganic iodine species resulting from the deposition of ozone (O3) on the sea surface are needed to reproduce the observed levels of IO, although the current parameterizations overestimate the atmospheric concentrations. After reducing the inorganic emissions by 40 %, a reasonable match with cruise-based observations is found, with the model predicting values between 0.1 and 1.2 pptv across the model domain MBL. A strong seasonal variation is also observed, with lower iodine concentrations predicted during the monsoon period, when clean oceanic air advects towards the Indian subcontinent, and higher iodine concentrations predicted during the winter period, when polluted air from the Indian subcontinent increases the ozone concentrations in the remote MBL. The results show that significant changes are caused by the inclusion of iodine chemistry, with iodine-catalysed reactions leading to regional changes of up to 25 % in O3, 50 % in nitrogen oxides (NO and NO2), 15 % in hydroxyl radicals (OH), 25 % in hydroperoxyl radicals (HO2), and up to a 50 % change in the nitrate radical (NO3), with lower mean values across the domain. Most of the large relative changes are observed in the open-ocean MBL, although iodine chemistry also affects the chemical composition in the coastal environment and over the Indian subcontinent. These results show the importance of including iodine chemistry in modelling the atmosphere in this region.

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