The atmospheric partial lifetime of carbon tetrachloride with respect to the global soil sink

Image credit: [CCl4]


The magnitude of the terrestrial soil sink for atmospheric carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) remains poorly constrained, with the estimated uncertainty range of CCl4 partial lifetimes between ~110 and 910 years. Field observations are sparse, and there are uncertainties in extrapolating these results to the global scale. Here we add to the published CCl4 fluxes with additional field measurements, and we employ a land cover classification scheme based on Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer measurements that align more closely with the measurement sites to reevaluate the global CCl4 soil sink. We calculate an updated partial lifetime of CCl4 with respect to the soil sink to be 375 (288–536) years, which is 50 to 90% longer than the most recently published best estimates of the soil sink partial lifetime (195 and 245 years). This translates into a longer overall atmospheric lifetime estimate, which is more consistent with the observed atmospheric concentration trend and interhemispheric gradient.

Geophysical Research Letters, 43, doi:10.1002/2016GL067839