Assessing the flux of different volatile sulfur gases from the ocean to the atmosphere

A. J. Kettle*, T. S. Rhee, M. Von Hobe, A. Poulton, J. Aiken, M. O. Andreae

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Reduced sulfur gases and optical properties were measured in the upper ocean during an Atlantic Meridional Transect cruise of the RRS James Clark Ross from England to the Falkland Islands in 1998. Sea surface concentrations of carbonyl sulfide (COS) exhibited a pronounced diel variation at low latitudes but no diel cycle at mid and high latitudes possibly because of oceanic fronts and the longer hydrolysis time constant in cold water. The highest COS concentrations were observed in coastal and upwelling areas. CS2 concentrations varied less than those of COS, and the highest concentrations were found in the North African upwelling area with decreasing concentrations both northward and southward of this maximum. Dimethylsulfide (DMS) had the largest concentrations in the upper ocean, but methyl mercaptan (CH3SH) was an important reduced sulfur species in some coastal and upwelling areas. This may be associated with high bacterial growth rates. Colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) fluorescence and absorbance also exhibit the highest values in coastal and upwelling areas and the lowest values in the southern subtropical gyre. The results suggest that carbon disulfide (CS2) outgassed from the oceans and oxidized in the atmosphere may represent a larger source of COS to the atmosphere than the direct flux of COS across the sea-air interface.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000JD900630
Pages (from-to)12193-12209
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberD11
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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