21 Jul 2022
21 Jul 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Variability of dimethyl sulphide (DMS), methanethiol and other trace gases in context of microbial communities from the temperate Atlantic to the Arctic Ocean

Valérie Gros1, Bernard Bonsang1, Roland Sarda-Estève1, Anna Nikolopoulos2, Katja Metfies3, Matthias Wietz3,4, and Ilka Peeken3 Valérie Gros et al.
  • 1Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, CNRS-CEA-UVSQ, IPSL, Gif sur Yvette, 91 191, France
  • 2Norwegian Polar Institute, Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
  • 3Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 4Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, 28359 Bremen, Germany

Abstract. Dimethyl sulphide (DMS) plays an important role in the atmosphere by influencing the formation of aerosols and cloud condensation nuclei. In contrast, the role of methanethiol (MeSH) for the budget and flux of reduced sulphur remains poorly understood. In the present study, we quantified DMS and MeSH together with the trace gases carbon monoxide (CO), isoprene, acetone, acetaldehyde and acetonitrile in North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean surface waters, covering a transect from 57.2° N to 80.9° N in high spatial resolution. Whereas isoprene, acetone, acetaldehyde and acetonitrile concentrations decreased northwards, CO, DMS and MeSH retained significant levels at high latitudes, indicating specific sources in polar waters. DMS was the only compound with higher average in polar (31.2 ± 9.3 nM) than in Atlantic waters (13.5 ± 2 nM), presumably due to DMS originating from sea ice. At eight sea-ice stations north of 80° N, in the diatom-dominated marginal ice zone, vertical profiles showed a marked correlation (R2 = 0.93) between DMS and chlorophyll a. Contrary to previous measurements, MeSH and DMS did not co-vary, indicating decoupled processes of production and conversion. The contribution of MeSH to the sulphur budget (represented by DMS+MeSH) was on average 20 % (and up to 50 %) higher than previously observed in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, suggesting MeSH as a significant source of sulphur possibly emitted to the atmosphere. The potential importance of MeSH was underlined by several correlations with bacterial taxa, including typical phytoplankton associates from the Rhodobacteraceae and Flavobacteriaceae families. Furthermore, the correlation of isoprene and chlorophyll a with Alcanivorax indicated a specific relationship with isoprene-producing phytoplankton. Overall, the demonstrated latitudinal and vertical patterns contribute to the understanding of central marine trace gases from chemical, atmospheric and biological perspectives.

Valérie Gros 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 bg-2022-150', Anonymous Referee #1, 01 Aug 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2022-150', Anonymous Referee #2, 09 Aug 2022
  • RC3: 'Comment on bg-2022-150', Anonymous Referee #3, 19 Aug 2022

Valérie Gros et al.

Valérie Gros et al.


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Short summary
The oceans are both source and sink for trace gases important for atmospheric chemistry and marine ecology. Here, we quantified selected trace gases (including the biological metabolites DMS, methanethiol and isoprene) along a 2500 km transect from the north Atlantic to the Arctic Ocean. In context of phytoplankton and bacterial communities, our study suggests that methanethiol (rarely measured before) might substantially influence ocean-atmosphere cycling.