The origin of stable halogenated compounds in volcanic gases

Frische, Matthias, Garofalo, Kristin, Hansteen, Thor, Borchers, R. and Harnisch, J. (2006) The origin of stable halogenated compounds in volcanic gases Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 13 (6). pp. 406-413. DOI 10.1065/espr2006.01.291.

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Halogenated compounds in the atmosphere are of great environmental concern due to their demonstrated negative effect on atmospheric chemistry and climate. Detailed knowledge of the emission budgets of halogenated compounds has to be gained to understand better their specific impact on ozone chemistry and the climate. Such data are also highly relevant to guide policy decisions in connexion with international agreements about protection of the ozone layer. In selected cases, the relevance of specific emission sources for certain compounds were unclear. In this study we present new and comprehensive evidence regarding the existence and relevance of a volcanic contribution of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), halons (bromine containing halo(hydro)carbons), and fully fluorinated compounds (e.g. CF4 and SF6) to the atmospheric budget.

In order to obtain new evidence of a volcanic origin of these compounds, we collected repeatedly, during four field campaigns covering a period of two years, gases from fumaroles discharging over a wide range of temperatures at the Nicaraguan subduction zone volcanoes Momotombo, Cerro Negro and Mombacho, and analysed them with very sensitive GC/MS systems.

Results and Discussion:
In most fumarolic samples certain CFCs, HFCs, HCFCs, halons, and the fully fluorinated compounds CF4 and SF6 were present above detection limits. However, these compounds occur in the fumarole gases in relative proportions characteristic for ambient air.

This atmospheric fingerprint can be explained by variable amounts of air entering the porous volcanic edifices and successively being incorporated into the fumarolic gas discharges.

Recommendation and Outlook:
Our results suggest that the investigated volcanoes do not constitute a significant natural source for CFCs, HFCs, HCFCs, halons, CF4, SF6 and NF3.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Halogenated greenhouse gases; Kyoto Protocol; Montreal Protocol; ozone depleting substances; perfluorinated compounds; stable halogenated compounds; volcanic effects on atmospheric composition; volcanic halocarbons
Research affiliation: OceanRep > SFB 574 > C5
OceanRep > SFB 574 > C3
OceanRep > SFB 574
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1065/espr2006.01.291
ISSN: 0944-1344
Contribution Number:
SFB 57486
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2008 16:51
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2017 12:55

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