Air-sea gas exchange in Antarctic waters

Peter S. Liss, Adele L. Chuck, Suzanne M. Turner, Andrew J. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The flux of gases between the atmosphere and the oceans can be calculated from the product of the concentration difference across the sea surface and a kinetic term, often called a transfer velocity. The transfer velocity is frequently parameterized in terms of wind speed, although the actual exchange process is also affected by waves, bubbles, wind fetch, and less certainly by surfactants and chemical reactivity. There is currently an uncertainty of about a factor of two in using the wind speed parameterization. In view of the windiness of the Southern Ocean, transfer velocities will often be high, although there are few published in situ measurements of transfer rates made in the region. Data for gas concentration fields in the Southern Ocean are generally sparse compared to other better studied oceanic areas. In this paper we discuss what is known for the region for carbon dioxide, including the oceanic sink for man-made inputs to the atmosphere; dimethyl sulphide, where there appears to be a substantial source, which has the potential for a significant climatic effect due to the low particulate loading in the region; and organo-halogen and alkyl nitrate gases, where marine emissions may play an important role in controlling the oxidation capacity of the Antarctic atmosphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-529
Number of pages13
JournalAntarctic Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004

Cite this