By examining trapped air bubbles in an ice core, researchers extend atmospheric record of methyl bromide over 300 years
Photograph by: Melanie Conner, National Science Foundation
Human activity in the Industrial Age – approximately the last 150 years – has significantly increased atmospheric levels of methyl bromide, a gas known for harming the ozone layer in the Earth’s stratosphere.
A research team led by UC Irvine scientist Eric Saltzman reached this conclusion after examining an ice core recovered from Antarctica. By studying air bubbles trapped in the core, Saltzman’s team was able to compare levels of methyl bromide in the atmosphere over the last three centuries. The team concluded that during the industrial era, the amount of global atmospheric methyl bromide in Southern Hemisphere air appears to have increased by 3.5 parts per trillion, or approximately 50 percent of the preindustrial level of the gas.
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