02 Mar 2021

02 Mar 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Air-sea exchange of acetone, acetaldehyde, DMS and isoprene at a UK coastal site

Daniel P. Phillips1,2, Frances E. Hopkins1, Thomas G. Bell1, Peter S. Liss2, Philip D. Nightingale1,2,3, Claire E. Reeves2, Charel Wohl1,2, and Mingxi Yang1 Daniel P. Phillips et al.
  • 1Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK
  • 2Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
  • 3Sustainable Agriculture Systems, Rothamsted Research, Devon EX20 2SB, UK

Abstract. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are ubiquitous in the atmosphere and are important for atmospheric chemistry. Large uncertainties remain in the role of the ocean in the atmospheric VOC budget because of poorly constrained marine sources and sinks. There are very few direct measurements of air–sea VOC fluxes near the coast, where natural marine emissions could influence coastal air quality (i.e. ozone, aerosols) and terrestrial gaseous emissions could be taken up by the coastal seas.

To address this, we present air–sea flux measurements of acetone, acetaldehyde and dimethylsulfide (DMS) at the coastal Penlee Point Atmospheric Observatory (PPAO) in the South-West UK during the spring (Apr–May 2018). Fluxes of these gases are quantified simultaneously by eddy covariance (EC) using a proton transfer reaction quadrupole mass spectrometer. Comparisons are made between two wind sectors representative of different air–water exchange regimes: the open water sector facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the fetch-limited Plymouth Sound fed by two estuaries.

Mean EC (± 1 standard error) fluxes of acetone, acetaldehyde and DMS from the open-water wind sector were −8.0 ± 0.8, −1.6 ± 1.4 and 4.7 ± 0.6 μmol m−2 d−1 respectively (− sign indicates net air-to-sea deposition). These measurements are generally comparable (same order of magnitude) to previous measurements in the Eastern North Atlantic Ocean at the same latitude. In comparison, the terrestrially influenced Plymouth Sound wind sector showed respective fluxes of −12.9 ± 1.4, −4.5 ± 1.7 and 1.8 ± 0.8 μmol m−2 d−1. The greater deposition fluxes of acetone and acetaldehyde within the Plymouth Sound were likely to a large degree driven by higher atmospheric concentrations from the terrestrial wind sector. The reduced DMS emission from the Plymouth Sound was caused by a combination of lower wind speed and likely lower dissolved concentrations as a result of the freshwater estuarine influence (i.e. dilution).

In addition, we measured the near surface seawater concentrations of acetone, acetaldehyde, DMS and isoprene from a marine station 6 km offshore. Comparisons are made between EC fluxes from the open water and bulk air–sea VOC fluxes calculated using air/water concentrations with a two-layer (TL) model of gas transfer. The calculated TL fluxes are largely consistent with the EC measurements with respect to the directions and magnitudes of fluxes. Accordingly, the computed transfer velocities of DMS and acetone from the EC fluxes and air/water concentrations are largely consistent with previous transfer velocity estimates from the open ocean.

Daniel P. Phillips et al.

Status: open (until 27 Apr 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-108', Anonymous Referee #1, 31 Mar 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-108', Anonymous Referee #2, 06 Apr 2021 reply

Daniel P. Phillips et al.

Daniel P. Phillips et al.


Total article views: 422 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
312 103 7 422 22 3 7
  • HTML: 312
  • PDF: 103
  • XML: 7
  • Total: 422
  • Supplement: 22
  • BibTeX: 3
  • EndNote: 7
Views and downloads (calculated since 02 Mar 2021)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 02 Mar 2021)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 387 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 387 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 15 Apr 2021
Short summary
We present the first measurements of the rate of transfer (flux) of three gases between the atmosphere and the ocean, using a direct flux measurement technique, at a coastal site. We show greater atmospheric loss of acetone and acetaldehyde into the ocean than estimated by global models for the open-water; importantly, the acetaldehyde transfer direction is opposite to the model estimates. Measured dimethylsulphide fluxes agreed with a recent model. Isoprene fluxes were too weak to be measured.