Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-507
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-507

  29 Jul 2021

29 Jul 2021

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

The contribution of coral reef-derived dimethyl sulfide to aerosol burden over the Great Barrier Reef: a modelling study

Sonya Fiddes1,2,a, Matthew Woodhouse2, Steve Utembe3, Robyn Schofield4, Joel Alroe5, Scott Chambers6, Luke Cravigan5, Erin Dunne2, Ruhi Humphries2, Graham Johnson5, Melita Keywood2, Todd Lane4, Branka Miljevic5, Yuko Omori7,8, Zoran Ristovski5, Paul Sellek2, Hilton Swan9, Hiroshi Tanimoto8, Jason Ward2, and Alister Williams6 Sonya Fiddes et al.
  • 1ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science and the Australian-German Climate and Energy College, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • 2Climate Science Centre, Oceans and Atmosphere, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia
  • 3Environmental Protection Authority Victoria, Australia
  • 4ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • 5International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
  • 6Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Lucas Heights, New South Wales, Australia
  • 7Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan
  • 8Earth System Division, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Japan
  • 9Faculty of Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University, Australia
  • anow at: the Australian Antarctic Program Partnership, Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia

Abstract. Coral reefs have been found to produce the sulfur compound dimethyl sulfide (DMS), a climatically relevant aerosol precursor predominantly associated with phytoplankton. Until recently, the role of coral reef-derived DMS within the climate system had not been quantified. A study preceding the present work found that DMS produced by corals had negligible long-term climatic forcing at the global-regional scale. However, at sub-daily time scales more typically associated with aerosol and cloud formation, the influence of coral reef-derived DMS on local aerosol radiative effects remains unquantified. The Weather Research and Forecasting – chemistry model (WRF-Chem) has been used in this work to study the role of coral reef-derived DMS at sub-daily time scales for the first time. WRF-Chem was run to coincide with an October 2016 field campaign over the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia, against which the model was evaluated. After updating the DMS surface water climatology, the model reproduced DMS and sulfur concentrations well. The inclusion of coral reef-derived DMS resulted in no significant change in sulfate aerosol mass or total aerosol number. Subsequently, no direct or indirect aerosol effects were detected. The results suggest that the co-location of the Great Barrier Reef with significant anthropogenic aerosol sources along the Queensland coast prevents coral reef derived-aerosol from having a modulating influence on local aerosol burdens in the current climate.

Sonya Fiddes et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-507', Anonymous Referee #1, 25 Aug 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-507', Anonymous Referee #2, 15 Sep 2021

Sonya Fiddes et al.

Sonya Fiddes et al.

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Short summary
Coral reefs have been found to produce the climatically relevant chemical compound dimethyl sulfide (DMS). It has been suggested that corals can modify their environment via the production of DMS. We use an atmospheric-chemistry model to test this theory at a regional scale for the first time. We find that it is unlikely that coral reef derived DMS has an influence over local climate, in part due to their proximity to terrestrial and anthropogenic aerosol sources.
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