New methodology for Ozone Depletion Potentials of short-lived compounds: n-Propyl bromide as an example

Donald J. Wuebbles, Kenneth O. Patten, Matthew T. Johnson, Rao Kotamarthi

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A number of the compounds proposed as replacements for substances controlled under the Montreal Protocol have extremely short atmospheric lifetimes, on the order of days to a few months. An important example is n-propyl bromide (also referred to as 1-bromopropane, CH2BrCH2CH3 or simplified as 1-C3H7Br or nPB). This compound, useful as a solvent, has an atmospheric lifetime of less than 20 days due to its reaction with hydroxyl. Because nPB contains bromine, any amount reaching the stratosphere has the potential to affect concentrations of stratospheric ozone. The definition of Ozone Depletion Potentials (ODP) needs to be modified for such short-lived compounds to account for the location and timing of emissions. It is not adequate to treat these chemicals as if they were uniformly emitted at all latitudes and longitudes as normally done for longer-lived gases. Thus, for short-lived compounds, policymakers will need a table of ODP values instead of the single value generally provided in past studies. This study uses the MOZART2 three-dimensional chemical-transport model in combination with studies with our less computationally expensive two-dimensional model to examine potential effects of nPB on stratospheric ozone. Multiple facets of this study examine key questions regarding the amount of bromine reaching the stratosphere following emission of nPB. Our most significant findings from this study for the purposes of short-lived replacement compound ozone effects are summarized as follows. The degradation of nPB produces a significant quantity of bromoacetone which increases the amount of bromine transported to the stratosphere due to nPB. However, much of that effect is not due to bromoacetone itself, but instead to inorganic bromine which is produced from tropospheric oxidation of nPB, bromoacetone, and other degradation products and is transported above the dry and wet deposition processes of the model. The MOZART2 nPB results indicate a minimal correction of the two-dimensional results in order to derive our final results: an nPB chemical lifetime of 19 days and an Ozone Depletion Potential range of 0.033 to 0.040 for assumed global emissions over landmasses, 19 days and 0.021 to 0.028, respectively, for assumed emissions in the industrialized regions of the Northern Hemisphere, and 9 days and 0.087 to 0.105, respectively, for assumed emission in tropical Southeast Asia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2001JD900008
Pages (from-to)14551-14571
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue numberD13
StatePublished - Jul 16 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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