Trace gas emissions from the marine biosphere

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A wide variety of trace gases (e.g. dimethyl sulphide, organohalogens, ammonia, non-methane and oxygenated hydrocarbons, volatile oxygenated organics and nitrous oxide) are formed in marine waters by biological and photochemical processes. This leads in many, but not all, cases to supersaturation of the water relative to marine air concentrations and a net flux of trace gas to the atmosphere. Since the gases are often in their reduced forms in the water, once in the atmosphere they are subject to oxidation by photolysis or radical attack to form chemically reactive species that can affect the oxidizing capacity of the air. They can also lead to the formation of new particles or the growth of existing ones that can then contribute to both direct and indirect (via the formation of cloud condensation nuclei) aerosol effects on climate. These cycles are discussed with respect to their impacts on the chemistry of the atmosphere, climate and human health.  

This whole topic was the subject of an extensive review (Nightingale & Liss 2003 In Treatise in geochemistry (eds H. D. Holland & K. K. Turekian), pp. 49–81) and what will be attempted here is a brief update of the earlier paper. There is no attempt to be comprehensive either in terms of gases covered or to give a complete review of all the recent literature. It is a personal view of recent advances both from my own research group as well as significant work from others. Questions raised at the meeting ‘Trace gas biogeochemistry and global change’ are dealt with at appropriate places in the text (rather than at the end of the piece). Discussion of each of the gases or group of gases is given in the following separate sections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1697-1704
Number of pages8
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number1856
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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