Atmospheric Methyl Iodide at Cape Grim, Tasmania, from AGAGE Observations
Atmospheric mixing ratios of methyl iodide (CH3I) and other methyl halides have been measured at Cape Grim, Tasmania (41°S, 145°E), since early 1998 as part of the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE). This paper analyses about 1700 ambient air CH3I measurements from the 14-month period (March 1998–April 1999). Mixing ratios peaked during the summer, despite faster photolytic loss, suggesting local oceanic emissions were about 2.2–3.6 times stronger in summer than in winter. Back trajectories show that CH3I levels are strongly dependent on air mass origin, with highest mixing ratios in air from the Tasman Sea/Bass Strait region and lowest levels in air originating from the Southern Ocean at higher latitudes. CH3I mixing ratios were not well correlated with other methyl halides in unpolluted marine air. The large variations with season and air mass origin suggest that high frequency, continuous data from key locations will make a significant contribution to the understanding of sources and sinks of this important short-lived atmospheric species.