skip to main content

Title: Marine gas-phase sulfur emissions during an induced phytoplankton bloom
Abstract. The oxidation of dimethyl sulfide (DMS;CH3SCH3), emitted from the surface ocean, contributes to theformation of Aitken mode particles and their growth to cloud condensationnuclei (CCN) sizes in remote marine environments. It is not clear whetherother less commonly measured marine-derived, sulfur-containing gases sharesimilar dynamics to DMS and contribute to secondary marine aerosolformation. Here, we present measurements of gas-phase volatile organosulfurmolecules taken with a Vocus proton-transfer-reaction high-resolutiontime-of-flight mass spectrometer during a mesocosm phytoplankton bloomexperiment using coastal seawater. We show that DMS, methanethiol (MeSH;CH3SH), and benzothiazole (C7H5NS) account for on averageover 90 % of total gas-phase sulfur emissions, with non-DMS sulfur sourcesrepresenting 36.8 ± 7.7 % of sulfur emissions during the first 9 d of the experiment in the pre-bloom phase prior to major biologicalgrowth, before declining to 14.5 ± 6.0 % in the latter half of theexperiment when DMS dominates during the bloom and decay phases. The molarratio of DMS to MeSH during the pre-bloom phase (DMS : MeSH = 4.60 ± 0.93) was consistent with the range of previously calculated ambient DMS-to-MeSH sea-to-air flux ratios. As the experiment progressed, the DMS to MeSHemission ratio increased significantly, reaching 31.8 ± 18.7 duringthe bloom and decay. Measurements of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP),heterotrophic bacteria, and enzyme activity in the seawater suggest theDMS : MeSH ratio is a sensitive indicator of the bacterial sulfur more » demand andthe composition and magnitude of available sulfur sources in seawater. Theevolving DMS : MeSH ratio and the emission of a new aerosol precursor gas,benzothiazole, have important implications for secondary sulfate formationpathways in coastal marine environments. « less
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
1601 to 1613
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract. Oceanic emissions of dimethyl sulfide (CH3SCH3,DMS) have long been recognized to impact aerosol particle composition andsize, the concentration of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), and Earth'sradiation balance. The impact of oceanic emissions of methanethiol(CH3SH, MeSH), which is produced by the same oceanic precursor as DMS,on the volatile sulfur budget of the marine atmosphere is largelyunconstrained. Here we present direct flux measurements of MeSH oceanicemissions using the eddy covariance (EC) method with a high-resolutionproton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometer (PTR-ToFMS)detector and compare them to simultaneous flux measurements of DMS emissionsfrom a coastal ocean site. Campaign mean mixing ratios of DMS and MeSH were72 ppt (28–90 ppt interquartile range) and 19.1 ppt (7.6–24.5 pptinterquartile range), respectively. Campaign mean emission fluxes of DMS (FDMS) and MeSH (FMeSH) were 1.13 ppt m s−1 (0.53–1.61 ppt m s−1 interquartile range) and 0.21 ppt m s−1 (0.10–0.31 ppt m s−1 interquartile range), respectively. Linear least squares regression of observed MeSH and DMS flux indicates the emissions are highly correlatedwith each other (R2=0.65) over the course of the campaign,consistent with a shared oceanic source. The campaign mean DMS to MeSH fluxratio (FDMS:FMeSH) was 5.5 ± 3.0, calculated from the ratio of 304 individual coincident measurements of FDMS and FMeSH. Measured FDMS:FMeSH was weakly correlated (R2=0.15) withocean chlorophyll concentrations, with FDMS:FMeSH reaching a maximumof 10.8 ± 4.4 during a phytoplankton bloommore »period. No other volatilesulfur compounds were observed by PTR-ToFMS to have a resolvable emissionflux above their flux limit of detection or to have a gas-phase mixing ratio consistently above their limit of detection during the study period,suggesting DMS and MeSH are the dominant volatile organic sulfur compoundsemitted from the ocean at this site. The impact of this MeSH emission source on atmospheric budgets of sulfurdioxide (SO2) was evaluated by implementing observed emissions in a coupled ocean–atmosphere chemical box model using a newly compiled MeSHoxidation mechanism. Model results suggest that MeSH emissions lead toafternoon instantaneous SO2 production of 2.5 ppt h−1, which results in a 43 % increase in total SO2 production compared to a casewhere only DMS emissions are considered and accounts for 30% of theinstantaneous SO2 production in the marine boundary layer at the meanmeasured FDMS and FMeSH. This contribution of MeSH to SO2production is driven by a higher effective yield of SO2 from MeSHoxidation and the shorter oxidation lifetime of MeSH compared to DMS. Thislarge additional source of marine SO2 has not been previouslyconsidered in global models of marine sulfur cycling. The field measurementsand modeling results presented here demonstrate that MeSH is an importantcontributor to volatile sulfur budgets in the marine atmosphere and must be measured along with DMS in order to constrain marine sulfur budgets. Thislarge additional source of marine–reduced sulfur from MeSH will contribute to particle formation and growth and CCN abundance in the marine atmosphere, with subsequent impacts on climate.« less
  2. Marine aerosols strongly influence climate through their interactions with solar radiation and clouds. However, significant questions remain regarding the influences of biological activity and seawater chemistry on the flux, chemical composition, and climate-relevant properties of marine aerosols and gases. Wave channels, a traditional tool of physical oceanography, have been adapted for large-scale ocean-atmosphere mesocosm experiments in the laboratory. These experiments enable the study of aerosols under controlled conditions which isolate the marine system from atmospheric anthropogenic and terrestrial influences. Here, we present an overview of the 2019 Sea Spray Chemistry and Particle Evolution (SeaSCAPE) study, which was conducted in an 11 800 L wave channel which was modified to facilitate atmospheric measurements. The SeaSCAPE campaign sought to determine the influence of biological activity in seawater on the production of primary sea spray aerosols, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and secondary marine aerosols. Notably, the SeaSCAPE experiment also focused on understanding how photooxidative aging processes transform the composition of marine aerosols. In addition to a broad range of aerosol, gas, and seawater measurements, we present key results which highlight the experimental capabilities during the campaign, including the phytoplankton bloom dynamics, VOC production, and the effects of photochemical aging on aerosol production, morphology, andmore »chemical composition. Additionally, we discuss the modifications made to the wave channel to improve aerosol production and reduce background contamination, as well as subsequent characterization experiments. The SeaSCAPE experiment provides unique insight into the connections between marine biology, atmospheric chemistry, and climate-relevant aerosol properties, and demonstrates how an ocean-atmosphere-interaction facility can be used to isolate and study reactions in the marine atmosphere in the laboratory under more controlled conditions.« less
  3. Abstract. Nitrogen-containing organic compounds, which may be directly emitted into the atmosphere or which may form via reactions with prevalent reactive nitrogen species (e.g., NH3, NOx, NO3), have important but uncertaineffects on climate and human health. Using gas and liquid chromatographywith soft ionization and high-resolution mass spectrometry, we performed amolecular-level speciation of functionalized organic compounds at a coastal site on the Long Island Sound in summer (during the 2018 Long Island Sound Tropospheric Ozone Study – LISTOS – campaign) and winter. This region often experiences poor air quality due to theemissions of reactive anthropogenic, biogenic, and marine-derived compoundsand their chemical transformation products. We observed a range offunctionalized compounds containing oxygen, nitrogen, and/or sulfur atomsresulting from these direct emissions and chemical transformations,including photochemical and aqueous-phase processing that was more pronounced in summer and winter, respectively. In both summer and winter, nitrogen-containing organic aerosols dominated the observed distribution offunctionalized particle-phase species ionized by our analytical techniques,with 85 % and 68 % of total measured ion abundance containing a nitrogenatom, respectively. Nitrogen-containing particles included reduced nitrogen functional groups (e.g., amines, imines, azoles) and common NOz contributors (e.g., organonitrates). Reduced nitrogen functional groups observed in the particle phase were frequently paired with oxygen-containing groups elsewhere onmore »the molecule, and their prevalence often rivaled that of oxidized nitrogen groups detected by our methods. Supplemental gas-phasemeasurements, collected on adsorptive samplers and analyzed with a novelliquid chromatography-based method, suggest that gas-phase reduced nitrogen compounds are possible contributing precursors to the observed nitrogen-containing particles. Altogether, this work highlights theprevalence of reduced nitrogen-containing compounds in the less-studied northeastern US and potentially in other regions with similar anthropogenic, biogenic, and marine source signatures.« less
  4. Abstract. Tidal salt marsh soils can be a dynamic source of greenhouse gases such ascarbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O),as well as sulfur-based trace gases such as carbon disulfide (CS2) anddimethylsulfide (DMS) which play roles in global climate and carbon–sulfurbiogeochemistry. Due to the difficulty in measuring trace gases in coastalecosystems (e.g., flooding, salinity), our current understanding is based onsnapshot instantaneous measurements (e.g., performed during daytime lowtide) which complicates our ability to assess the role of these ecosystemsfor natural climate solutions. We performed continuous, automatedmeasurements of soil trace gas fluxes throughout the growing season toobtain high-temporal frequency data and to provide insights into magnitudesand temporal variability across rapidly changing conditions such as tidalcycles. We found that soil CO2 fluxes did not show a consistent dielpattern, CH4, N2O, and CS2 fluxes were highly variable withfrequent pulse emissions (> 2500 %, > 10 000 %,and > 4500 % change, respectively), and DMS fluxes onlyoccurred midday with changes > 185 000 %. When we comparedcontinuous measurements with discrete temporal measurements (during daytime,at low tide), discrete measurements of soil CO2 fluxes were comparablewith those from continuous measurements but misrepresent the temporalvariability and magnitudes of CH4, N2O, DMS, and CS2.Discrepancies between the continuous and discrete measurement data result indifferences for calculating the sustainedmore »global warming potential (SGWP),mainly by an overestimation of CH4 fluxes when using discretemeasurements. The high temporal variability of trace gas fluxes complicatesthe accurate calculation of budgets for use in blue carbon accounting andearth system models.« less
  5. Oceans emit large quantities of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) to the marine atmosphere. The oxidation of DMS leads to the formation and growth of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) with consequent effects on Earth’s radiation balance and climate. The quantitative assessment of the impact of DMS emissions on CCN concentrations necessitates a detailed description of the oxidation of DMS in the presence of existing aerosol particles and clouds. In the unpolluted marine atmosphere, DMS is efficiently oxidized to hydroperoxymethyl thioformate (HPMTF), a stable intermediate in the chemical trajectory toward sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ) and ultimately sulfate aerosol. Using direct airborne flux measurements, we demonstrate that the irreversible loss of HPMTF to clouds in the marine boundary layer determines the HPMTF lifetime ( τ HPMTF < 2 h) and terminates DMS oxidation to SO 2 . When accounting for HPMTF cloud loss in a global chemical transport model, we show that SO 2 production from DMS is reduced by 35% globally and near-surface (0 to 3 km) SO 2 concentrations over the ocean are lowered by 24%. This large, previously unconsidered loss process for volatile sulfur accelerates the timescale for the conversion of DMS to sulfate while limiting new particle formation inmore »the marine atmosphere and changing the dynamics of aerosol growth. This loss process potentially reduces the spatial scale over which DMS emissions contribute to aerosol production and growth and weakens the link between DMS emission and marine CCN production with subsequent implications for cloud formation, radiative forcing, and climate.« less