A reconciliation of empirical and mechanistic models of the air-sea gas transfer velocity

Lonneke Goddijn-Murphy, David Kevin Woolf, Adrian Callaghan, Philip Nightingale, Jamie Shutler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


Models of the air-sea transfer velocity of gases may be either empirical or mechanistic. Extrapolations of empirical models to an unmeasured gas or to another water temperature can be erroneous if the basis of that extrapolation is flawed. This issue is readily demonstrated for the most well-known empirical gas transfer velocity models where the influence of bubble-mediated transfer, which can vary between gases, is not explicitly accounted for. Mechanistic models are hindered by an incomplete knowledge of the mechanisms of air-sea gas transfer. We describe a hybrid model that incorporates a simple mechanistic view—strictly enforcing a distinction between direct and bubble-mediated transfer—but also uses parameterizations based on data from eddy flux measurements of dimethyl sulphide (DMS) to calibrate the model together with dual tracer results to evaluate the model. This model underpins simple algorithms that can be easily applied within schemes to calculate local, regional, or global air-sea fluxes of gases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-835
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


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