Dimethylsulphide production in the subantarctic Southern Ocean under enhanced greenhouse conditions
Dimethylsulphide (DMS) is an important sulphurcontaining trace gas produced by enzymatic cleavage of its precursor compound, dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP), which is released by marine phytoplankton in the upper ocean. After ventilation to the atmosphere, DMS is oxidised to form sulphate aerosols which in the unpolluted marine atmosphere are a major source of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). Because the microphysical properties of clouds relevant to climate change are sensitive to CCN concentration in air, it has been postulated that marine sulphur emissions may play a r䬥 in climate regulation. The Subantarctic Southern Ocean (41-53ө is relatively free of anthropogenic sulphur emissions, thus sulphate aerosols will be mainly derived from the biogenic source of DMS, making it an ideal region in which to evaluate the DMSclimate regulation hypothesis. We have extended a previous modelling analysis of the DMS cycle in this region by employing a coupled general circulation model (CGCM) which has been run in transient mode to provide a more realistic climate scenario. The CGCM output provided meteorological data under the IPCC/IS92a radiative forcing scenario. A DMS production model has been forced with the CGCM climate data to simulate the trend in the seatoair DMS flux for the period 1960 to 2080, corresponding to equivalent CO2 tripling relative to preindustrial levels. The results confirm a minor but nonnegligible increase in DMS flux in this region, in the range +1% to +6% predicted over the period simulated. Uncertainty analysis of the DMS model predictions have confirmed the positive sign for the change in DMS flux, that is a negative DMS feedback on warming.
Tellus Series B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology
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