1Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
2Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
3School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
4GEOMAR, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
Abstract. A latitudinal cross-section and vertical profiles of iodine monoxide (IO) are reported from the marine boundary layer of the Western Pacific. The measurements were taken using Multi-Axis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) during the TransBrom cruise of the German research vessel Sonne, which led from Tomakomai, Japan (42° N, 141° E) through the Western Pacific to Townsville, Australia (19° S, 146° E) in October 2009. In the marine boundary layer within the tropics (between 20° N and 5° S), IO mixing ratios ranged between 1 and 2.2 ppt, whereas in the subtropics and at mid-latitudes typical IO mixing ratios were around 1 ppt in the daytime. The profile retrieval reveals that the bulk of the IO was located in the lower part of the marine boundary layer. Photochemical simulations indicate that the organic iodine precursors observed during the cruise (CH3I, CH2I2, CH2ClI, CH2BrI) are not sufficient to explain the measured IO mixing ratios. Reasonable agreement between measured and modelled IO can only be achieved, if an additional sea-air flux of inorganic iodine (e.g. I2) is assumed in the model. Our observations add further evidence to previous studies that reactive iodine is an important oxidant in the marine boundary layer.