The central Arctic Ocean as a source of dimethyl sulfide Seasonal variability in relation to biological activity

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Leck, Caroline ; Persson, Cecilia (2011)

Seawater dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and distribution of phytoplankton biomass were investigated in relation to sea ice conditions, hydrography and nutrients, onboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden as a part of the International Arctic Ocean Expedition, 1991. The expedition lasted from the beginning of August until the middle of October and covered sampling between 75° to 90° N in the open waters and along the ice edge zone in the Greenland Sea-Fram Strait area as well as in the pack ice of the western part of the Nansen and Amundsen basins and in the Makarov basin. Surface seawater DMS concentrations showed a clear seasonal progression related to biological activity, ranging from 0.04 to 12 nmol dm−3. The highest values were found in open waters along the ice edge in the beginning of August, while the lowest concentrations were measured beneath heavy pack ice in late September. On average DMS fell about 30% per week in the open waters south of and within the ice edge zone whereas a significant higher seasonal decline, about 45% per week, was observed in the pack ice during freeze-up. The importance of the phytoplankton bloom and zooplankton abundance both at the ice edge zone and in the pack ice during summer ice-melt to DMS concentrations in seawater has been demonstrated. We also demonstrated a potential for intense DMS production in the open waters in the wake of the receding ice. The extremely low surface concentrations of DMS during the freeze-up of the pack ice were probably primarily controlled by removal processes within the water column. The turnover time of DMS in the pack ice water column was calculated to be of the order of 13 days with the most effective sink seemingly of micro-biological origin. Although, our limited set of data indicated the likelyhood of a relationship between DMS and degraded phytoplankton material (phaeopigments), seawater DMS showed no simple correlation with phytoplankton standing stock over the large areas and different seasons covered. The area weighed summer and winter fluxes of DMS from the Arctic Polar Ocean to the atmosphere were estimated to be 2.0 and 0.03 μmol m−2 day−1, respectively. On an annual basis, winter biogenic sulfur emissions are negligible compared to the summer emissions in the region. The total emissions of marine biogenic sulfur from the Northern Hemispheric high latitudes was estimated to be approximately 4 Gmol yr−1.DOI: 10.1034/j.1600-0889.1996.t01-1-00003.x
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