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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 6(1)

Variation of atmospheric volatile organic compounds over the Southern Indian Ocean (30–49°S)

Aurélie Colomb A E, Valérie Gros B, Séverine Alvain C, Roland Sarda-Esteve B, Bernard Bonsang B, C. Moulin B, Thomas Klüpfel D, Jonathan Williams D

A Laboratoire Inter-universitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques, UMR 7583-CNRS, F-94010 Créteil, France.
B Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, F-91191 Gif sur Yvette, France.
C Laboratoire Ecosystèmes littoraux et cotiers (ELICO), Maison de la Recherche en environnement Natural (MREN), CNRS-ULCO, F-62930 Wimereux, France.
D Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Air Chemistry Department, J.J. Becher Weg, 27, D-55127 Mainz, Germany.
E Corresponding author. Email: colomb@lisa.univ-paris12.fr
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Environmental context. Oceans represent 70% of the blue planet, and surprisingly, ocean emission in term of volatile organic compounds is poorly understood. The potential climate impacts on a global scale of various trace organic gases have been established, and the terrestrial inputs are well studied, but little is known about which of these can be emitted from oceanic sources. In the present study, atmospheric samples were taken over the Southern Indian Ocean, while crossing some oceanic fronts and different phytoplankton species. Such a study should aid in understanding oceanic emission, especially from phytoplankton, and will help modellers to determine concentrations of organic traces in the remote marine troposphere.

Abstract. Considering its size and potential importance, the ocean is poorly characterised in terms of volatile organic compounds (VOC) that play important roles in global atmospheric chemistry. In order to better understand their potential sources and sinks over the Southern Indian Austral Ocean, shipborne measurements of selected species were made during the MANCHOT campaign during December 2004, on board the research vessel Marion Dufresne. Along the transect La Réunion to Kerguelen Island, air measurements of selected VOC (including dimethylsulfide (DMS) isoprene, carbonyls and organohalogens), carbon monoxide and ozone were performed, crossing subtropical, temperate and sub-Antarctic waters as well as pronounced subtropical and sub-Antarctic oceanic fronts. The remote marine boundary layer was characterised at latitudes 45–50°S. Oceanic fronts were associated with enhanced chlorophyll and biological activity in the seawater and elevated DMS and organohalogens in the atmosphere. These were compared with a satellite-derived phytoplankton distribution (PHYSAT). Diurnal variation for isoprene, terpenes, acetone and acetaldehyde was observed, analogously to recent results observed in mesocosm experiments.

Keywords: oceanic emissions, oceanic fronts, PHYSAT method.

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