Modelling marine emissions and atmospheric distributions of halocarbons and dimethyl sulfide: the influence of prescribed water concentration vs. prescribed emissions
Abstract. Marine-produced short-lived trace gases such as dibromomethane (CH2Br2), bromoform (CHBr3), methyliodide (CH3I) and dimethyl sulfide (DMS) significantly impact tropospheric and stratospheric chemistry. Describing their marine emissions in atmospheric chemistry models as accurately as possible is necessary to quantify their impact on ozone depletion and Earth's radiative budget. So far, marine emissions of trace gases have mainly been prescribed from emission climatologies, thus lacking the interaction between the actual state of the atmosphere and the ocean. Here we present simulations with the chemistry climate model EMAC (ECHAM5/MESSy Atmospheric Chemistry) with online calculation of emissions based on surface water concentrations, in contrast to directly prescribed emissions. Considering the actual state of the model atmosphere results in a concentration gradient consistent with model real-time conditions at the ocean surface and in the atmosphere, which determine the direction and magnitude of the computed flux. This method has a number of conceptual and practical benefits, as the modelled emission can respond consistently to changes in sea surface temperature, surface wind speed, sea ice cover and especially atmospheric mixing ratio. This online calculation could enhance, dampen or even invert the fluxes (i.e. deposition instead of emissions) of very short-lived substances (VSLS). We show that differences between prescribing emissions and prescribing concentrations (−28 % for CH2Br2 to +11 % for CHBr3) result mainly from consideration of the actual, time-varying state of the atmosphere. The absolute magnitude of the differences depends mainly on the surface ocean saturation of each particular gas. Comparison to observations from aircraft, ships and ground stations reveals that computing the air–sea flux interactively leads in most of the cases to more accurate atmospheric mixing ratios in the model compared to the computation from prescribed emissions. Calculating emissions online also enables effective testing of different air–sea transfer velocity (k) parameterizations, which was performed here for eight different parameterizations. The testing of these different k values is of special interest for DMS, as recently published parameterizations derived by direct flux measurements using eddy covariance measurements suggest decreasing k values at high wind speeds or a linear relationship with wind speed. Implementing these parameterizations reduces discrepancies in modelled DMS atmospheric mixing ratios and observations by a factor of 1.5 compared to parameterizations with a quadratic or cubic relationship to wind speed.