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Field studies of dimethyl sulfide and its oxidation products in the atmosphere.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1997
<mark>Journal</mark>Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences
Number of pages7
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Dimethyl sulphide (DMS) is released into ocean waters by phytoplankton and may then cross the water-air interface into the atmosphere. Various models have been formulated to describe its behaviour in the atmosphere. Here, measurements of its concentrations and those of its major oxidation products, methane sulphonate, sulphur dioxide, non sea-salt sulphate and demethyl sulphoxide, in both the gas and aerosol phases, in Atlandtic air, are used to validate these qualitative descriptions of its oxidation. Behaviour consistent with day-time oxidation by the hydroxyl radical, with the yield of methane sulphonic acid being both temperature dependent and under the influence of the nitrogen dioxide mixing ratio, is seen. The rapid production of new particles also seems likely under certain conditions but it is not clear whether or not they enhance the concentrations of cloud condensation nuclei in the maritime troposphere. In maritime air a substantial fraction of the sulphate formed appears to be neutralized by reaction with ammonia to form ammonium aerosol.