The solar radiation dose in the oceanic upper mixed layer (SRD) has recently been identified as the main climatic force driving global dimethylsulfide (DMS) dynamics and seasonality. Because DMS is suggested to exert a cooling effect on the earth radiative budget through its involvement in the formation and optical properties of tropospheric clouds over the ocean, a positive relationship between DMS and the SRD supports the occurrence of a negative feedback between the oceanic biosphere and climate, as postulated 20 years ago. Such a natural feedback might partly counteract anthropogenic global warming through a shoaling of the mixed layer depth (MLD) and a consequent increase of the SRD and DMS concentrations and emission. By applying two globally derived DMS diagnostic models to global fields of MLD and chlorophyll simulated with an Ocean General Circulation Model coupled to a biogeochemistry model for a 50% increase of atmospheric CO2 and an unperturbed control run, we have estimated the response of the DMS-producing pelagic ocean to global warming. Our results show a net global increase in surface DMS concentrations, especially in summer. This increase, however, is so weak (globally 1.2%) that it can hardly be relevant as compared with the radiative forcing of the increase of greenhouse gases. This contrasts with the seasonal variability of DMS (1000–2000% summer-to-winter ratio). We suggest that the “plankton–DMS–clouds–earth albedo feedback” hypothesis is less strong a long-term thermostatic system than a seasonal mechanism that contributes to regulate the solar radiation doses reaching the earth's biosphere.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 9 Oct 2007|