Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 5, 10259-10299, 2005
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A reconstruction of the past trend of atmospheric CO based on firn air samples from Berkner Island, Antarctica
S. S. Assonov1, C. A. M. Brenninkmeijer1, P. Jöckel1, R. Mulvaney2, and S. Bernard3
1Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Atmospheric Chemistry Department, P.O. Box 3060, 55020 Mainz, Germany
2British Antarctic Survey, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
3Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l’Environnement, 54 rue Molière – Domaine Universitaire – BP 96 – 38402 St Martin d’Hères Cedex, France

Abstract. Although for several atmospheric trace gases trends over the past 100 year have been reconstructed using firn air analyses, little is known about one of the chemically most significant trace gases, namely CO. Among the 3 Antarctic drilling expeditions reported, the one from Berkner Island appears to have given results of sufficient analytical quality to warrant a modelling with the aim to reconstruct past changes in atmospheric CO. Based on our reconstructions, CO in high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere has been increasing since beginning of the 20th century from ~38 ppbv to a recent value of about 52.5 ppbv. The increase in CO is mainly explained by the known increase in CH4, with biomass burning output being most likely responsible for an additional increase. Which, if any, role changes in OH have played cannot be derived.

Citation: Assonov, S. S., Brenninkmeijer, C. A. M., Jöckel, P., Mulvaney, R., and Bernard, S.: A reconstruction of the past trend of atmospheric CO based on firn air samples from Berkner Island, Antarctica, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 5, 10259-10299, doi:10.5194/acpd-5-10259-2005, 2005.
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