Geochemical analyses in a Greenland ice core reveal a significant increase in atmospheric iodine concentrations as a consequence of the raise in human-induced tropospheric ozone and Arctic sea-ice retreat. A multidisciplinar research led by CSIC researchers reconstruct the iodine atmospheric fluxes since the onset of the Industrial Revolution.

A multidisciplinary research strategy has been led by researchers from the Spanish National Research Council. Geochemical analyses performed in an ice core (ReCAP ice core) retrieved in Renland peninsula (eastern Greenland) have allowed these researchers to reconstruct atmospheric iodine levels since 1760. These geochemical analyses highlight that iodine concentrations were relatively stable since the 18th century until the mid-20th century. The researchers also used a state-of-the-art atmospheric chemistry model developed in the National Center for Atmosperic Research (NCAR, USA) to understand the atmospheric iodine cycling since 1950. The raise in tropospheric ozone since the onset of the “Great Acceleration” and the increase in biological activity in the Arctic Ocean related to the abrupt sea-ice decrease explain the rapid increase in atmospheric iodine levels in the North Atlantic. Atmospheric iodine levels have tripled since 1950. The increase in this halogen in the atmosphere has significant climate implications since it promotes ultrafine aerosols and affects the atmospheric radiative forcing. Iodine also influences tropospheric         ozone concentrations ultimately controlling the atmosphere´s oxidizing capacity.

These results have been published on the journal Nature Communications:

Cuevas, C.A., Maffezzoli, N., Corella, J.P., Spolar, A., Vallelonga, P., Kjæ, H., Simonsen, M., Winstrup, M., Vinther, B., Horvat, C., Fernandez, R.P., Kinnison, D., LamarqueJ-F., Barbante. C., Saiz-Lopez, A. Rapid increase in atmospheric iodine levels in the North Atlantic since the mid-20th century. Nature Communications. 9, 1452 (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03756-1

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