Articles | Volume 13, issue 21
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 11073–11087, 2013
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 11073–11087, 2013

Research article 13 Nov 2013

Research article | 13 Nov 2013

Air–sea dimethylsulfide (DMS) gas transfer in the North Atlantic: evidence for limited interfacial gas exchange at high wind speed

T. G. Bell1,*, W. De Bruyn2, S. D. Miller3, B. Ward4, K. H. Christensen5, and E. S. Saltzman1 T. G. Bell et al.
  • 1Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
  • 2Department of Physical Sciences, Chapman University, Orange, California, CA, USA
  • 3Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, State University of New York at Albany, NY, USA
  • 4School of Physics, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
  • 5Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Postboks 43, Blindern, 0313 Oslo, Norway
  • *now at: Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, The Hoe, Plymouth, PL1 3DH, UK

Abstract. Shipboard measurements of eddy covariance dimethylsulfide (DMS) air–sea fluxes and seawater concentration were carried out in the North Atlantic bloom region in June/July 2011. Gas transfer coefficients (k660) show a linear dependence on mean horizontal wind speed at wind speeds up to 11 m s−1. At higher wind speeds the relationship between k660 and wind speed weakens. At high winds, measured DMS fluxes were lower than predicted based on the linear relationship between wind speed and interfacial stress extrapolated from low to intermediate wind speeds. In contrast, the transfer coefficient for sensible heat did not exhibit this effect. The apparent suppression of air–sea gas flux at higher wind speeds appears to be related to sea state, as determined from shipboard wave measurements. These observations are consistent with the idea that long waves suppress near-surface water-side turbulence, and decrease interfacial gas transfer. This effect may be more easily observed for DMS than for less soluble gases, such as CO2, because the air–sea exchange of DMS is controlled by interfacial rather than bubble-mediated gas transfer under high wind speed conditions.

Final-revised paper