The coupling between oceanic and atmospheric sulfur cycles is fundamental for the understanding of the role of sulfate particles as potential climate regulators. We discuss existing relationships among methanesulfonate (MS-- one of the end products of oxidation of biogenic dimethylsulfide - DMS) in the atmospheric particulate, phytoplankton biomass, and remotely-sensed activity in the central Mediterranean. The MS-concentration in the aerosol particles is based on PM10sampling (from 2005 to 2008) of atmospheric aerosols at the island of Lampedusa (35.5°N, 12.6°E) in the central Mediterranean Sea.The marine primary production in the sea sector surrounding the sampling site is obtained by using Ocean Color remote sensed data (SeaWiFS, MODIS-Aqua). In particular, primary production is calculated using a bio-optical model of sea reflectance and a Wavelength-Depth-Resolved Model (WDRM), fed by elaborated satellite data (chlorophyll concentration in the euphotic layer - Chl, sea surface temperature) and daily solar surface irradiance measurements.The multi-year evolution of MS-atmospheric concentration shows a well-defined seasonal cycle with a summer maximum, corresponding to the annual peak of solar radiation and a minimum of phytoplankton biomass (expressed as Chl).Statistically significant linear relationships between monthly means of atmospheric MS-and both the phytoplankton productivity index PB(r2=0.84, p<0.001) and the solar radiation dose (SRD; r2=0.87, p<0.001) in the upper mixed layer of the sea around Lampedusa are found. These correlations are mainly driven by the common seasonal pattern and suggest that DMS production in the marine surface layer is mainly related to the phytoplankton physiology. High values of PBare also the expression of stressed cells. The main stress factors in Mediterranean Sea during summer are high irradiance and shallow depth of the upper mixed layer, which lead to enhanced DMS emissions and higher MS-amounts in the atmosphere.During spring 2005 high biomass and primary productivity values are observed in February and April, just one month before the peaks of atmospheric MS-(March and May). The occurrence of anomalously high values at this time is hypothesized to be related to the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation, and to related oceanic and atmospheric processes. The possible role of the taxonomic composition of phytoplankton assemblages is also discussed. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science(all)
- Atmospheric Science