A numerical scheme to calculate temperature and salinity dependent air-water transfer velocities for any gas

M. T. Johnson

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The ocean-atmosphere flux of a gas can be calculated from its measured or estimated concentration gradient across the air-sea interface and the transfer velocity (a term representing the conductivity of the layers either side of the interface with respect to the gas of interest). Traditionally the transfer velocity has been estimated from empirical relationships with wind speed, and then scaled by the Schmidt number of the gas being transferred. Complex, physically based models of transfer velocity (based on more physical forcings than wind speed alone), such as the NOAA COARE algorithm, have more recently been applied to well-studied gases such as carbon dioxide and DMS (although many studies still use the simpler approach for these gases), but there is a lack of validation of such schemes for other, more poorly studied gases. The aim of this paper is to provide a flexible numerical scheme which will allow the estimation of transfer velocity for any gas as a function of wind speed, temperature and salinity, given data on the solubility and liquid molar volume of the particular gas. New and existing parameterizations (including a novel empirical parameterization of the salinity-dependence of Henry's law solubility) are brought together into a scheme implemented as a modular, extensible program in the R computing environment which is available in the supplementary online material accompanying this paper; along with input files containing solubility and structural data for ~90 gases of general interest, enabling the calculation of their total transfer velocities and component parameters. Comparison of the scheme presented here with alternative schemes and methods for calculating air-sea flux parameters shows good agreement in general. It is intended that the various components of this numerical scheme should be applied only in the absence of experimental data providing robust values for parameters for a particular gas of interest.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)913-932
Number of pages20
JournalOcean Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2010

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