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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2018-55
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2018-55
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 19 Feb 2018

Submitted as: research article | 19 Feb 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Dimethylsulfide (DMS) production in polar oceans may be resilient to ocean acidification

Frances E. Hopkins1, Philip D. Nightingale1, John A. Stephens1, C. Mark Moore2, Sophie Richier2, Gemma L. Cripps2, and Stephen D. Archer3 Frances E. Hopkins et al.
  • 1Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Plymouth, PL1 3DH, UK
  • 2Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  • 3Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Maine, USA

Abstract. Emissions of dimethylsulfide (DMS) from the polar oceans play a key role in atmospheric processes and climate. Therefore, it is important we increase our understanding of how DMS production in these regions may respond to environmental change. The polar oceans are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification (OA). However, our understanding of the polar DMS response is limited to two studies conducted in Arctic waters, where in both cases DMS concentrations decreased with increasing acidity. Here, we report on our findings from seven summertime shipboard microcosm experiments undertaken in a variety of locations in the Arctic Ocean and Southern Ocean. These experiments reveal no significant effects of short term OA on the net production of DMS by planktonic communities. This is in contrast to identical experiments from temperate NW European shelf waters where surface ocean communities responded to OA with significant increases in dissolved DMS concentrations. A meta-analysis of the findings from both temperate and polar waters (n = 18 experiments) reveals clear regional differences in the DMS response to OA. We suggest that these regional differences in DMS response reflect the natural variability in carbonate chemistry to which the respective communities may already be adapted. Future temperate oceans could be more sensitive to OA resulting in a change in DMS emissions to the atmosphere, whilst perhaps surprisingly DMS emissions from the polar oceans may remain relatively unchanged. By demonstrating that DMS emissions from geographically distinct regions may vary in response to OA, our results may facilitate a better understanding of Earth's future climate. Our study suggests that the way in which processes that generate DMS respond to OA may be regionally distinct and this should be taken into account in predicting future DMS emissions and their influence on Earth's climate.

Frances E. Hopkins et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Frances E. Hopkins et al.
Frances E. Hopkins et al.
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We investigated the effects of ocean acidification(OA) on the production of the climate active gas dimethylsulfide (DMS) in polar waters. We found that polar DMS production was unaffected by OA – in contrast to temperate waters, where large increases in DMS occurred. The regional differences in DMS response may reflect natural variability in community adaptation to ambient carbonate chemistry and should be taken into account in predicting the influence of future DMS emissions on Earth's climate.
We investigated the effects of ocean acidification(OA) on the production of the climate active...
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