National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1990

The biogeochemical sulfur cycle in the marine boundary layer over the northeast Pacific Ocean

Bates, T.S., J.E. Johnson, P.K. Quinn, P.D. Goldan, W.C. Kuster, D.C. Covert, and C.J. Hahn

J. Atmos. Chem., 10(1), 59–81, doi: 10.1007/BF01980038 (1990)

The major components of the marine boundary layer biogeochemical sulfur cycle were measured simultaneously onshore and off the coast of Washington State, U.S.A. during May 1987. Seawater dimethylsulfide (DMS) concentrations on the continental shelf were strongly influenced by coastal upwelling. Concentrations further offshore were typical of summer values (2.2 nmol/L) at this latitude. Although seawater DMS concentrations were high on the biologically productive continental shelf (2–12 nmol/L), this region had no measurable effect on atmospheric DMS concentrations. Atmospheric DMS concentrations (0.1–12 nmol/m3), however, were extremely dependent upon wind speed and boundary layer height. Although there appeared to be an appreciable input of non-sea-salt sulfate to the marine boundary layer from the free troposphere, the local flux of DMS from the ocean to the atmosphere was sufficient to balance the remainder of the sulfur budget.

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