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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1021
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1021
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 03 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 03 Jan 2020

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

A new marine biogenic emission: methane sulfonamide (MSAM), DMS and DMSO2 measured in air over the Arabian Sea

Achim Edtbauer1, Christof Stönner1, Eva Y. Pfannerstill1, Matias Berasategui1, David Walter1,2, John N. Crowley1, Jos Lelieveld1,3, and Jonathan Williams1,3 Achim Edtbauer et al.
  • 1Atmospheric Chemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • 2Department Biogeochemical Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany
  • 3Energy, Environment and Water Research Center, The Cyprus Institute, Nicosia, Cyprus

Abstract. We present the first ambient measurements of a new marine emission methane sulfonamide (MSAM), along with dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and dimethyl sulfone (DMSO2) over the Arabian Sea. Two shipborne transects (W to E, E to W) were made during the AQABA (Air Quality and Climate Change in the Arabian Basin) measurement campaign. DMS mixing ratios were in the range 0.3–0.5 ppb during the first traverse of the Arabian Sea (first leg) and 0.1 to 0.3 ppb in the second leg. In the first leg DMSO2 was always below 0.04 ppb and MSAM was close to the limit of detection. During the second leg DMSO2 was between 0.04–0.12 ppb and MSAM was mostly in the range 0.02–0.05 ppb with maximum values of 0.06 ppb. An analysis of HYSPLIT back trajectories combined with calculations of the exposure of these trajectories to chlorophyll a content in the water revealed that most MSAM originates from the Somalia upwelling region, known for its high biological activity. This new marine emission is of particular interest as it contains both sulfur and nitrogen, making it potentially relevant to marine nutrient cycling and particle formation.

Achim Edtbauer et al.
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Short summary
Marine regions where deep nutrient rich water is pushed towards the surface are called upwelling regions. In these nutrient rich waters large algal blooms form which are the basis of the marine food web. We measured methane sulfonamide, a molecule containing sulfur and nitrogen, for the first time in ambient air and could show that the origin of this emission is an algal bloom near the Somalia upwelling. Sulfur containing compounds from algae can promote particle formation over the oceans.
Marine regions where deep nutrient rich water is pushed towards the surface are called upwelling...
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