Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 33173-33189, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Stable carbon isotope fractionation in the UV photolysis of CFC-11 and CFC-12
A. Zuiderweg1, J. Kaiser2, J. C. Laube2, T. Röckmann1, and R. Holzinger1
1Institute of Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht (IMAU), Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
2School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

Abstract. The chlorofluorocarbons CFC-11 (CCl3F) and CFC-12 (CCl2F2) are stable atmospheric compounds that are produced at the earth's surface, but removed only at high altitudes in the stratosphere, where their removal liberates atomic chlorine that then catalytically destroys stratospheric ozone. For such long-lived compounds, isotope effects in the stratospheric removal reactions have a large effect on their global isotope budgets. We have determined the photolytic isotope fractionation for stable carbon isotopes of CFC-11 and CFC-12 in laboratory experiments. 13C/12C isotope fractionations (ϵ) range from (−23.7 ± 0.9) to (−17.5 ± 0.4)‰ for CFC-11 and (−69.2 ± 3.4) to (−49.4 ± 2.3)‰ for CFC-12 between 203 and 288 K, a temperature range relevant to conditions in the troposphere and stratosphere. These results suggest that CFCs should become strongly enriched in 13C with decreasing mixing ratio in the stratosphere, similar to what has been recently observed for CFC chlorine isotopes. In conjunction with the strong variations in CFC emissions before and after the Montréal Protocol, the stratospheric enrichments should also lead to a significant temporal increase in the 13C content of the CFCs at the surface over the past decades, which should be recorded in atmospheric air archives such as firn air.

Citation: Zuiderweg, A., Kaiser, J., Laube, J. C., Röckmann, T., and Holzinger, R.: Stable carbon isotope fractionation in the UV photolysis of CFC-11 and CFC-12, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 33173-33189, doi:10.5194/acpd-11-33173-2011, 2011.
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