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Remote sensing and DMS

Sierdsma, F. (2002) Remote sensing and DMS. Master's Thesis / Essay, Biology.

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Oceanic dimethylsulphide (DMS) is one of the major sources of sulphur to the atmosphere. Sulphur, in the form of sulphate in the atmosphere, is known to have a climate effect, through the backscattering of solar radiation or through cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) which increase cloud albedo. In the eighties the CLAW feedback hypothesis was formulated. It states that if an increase in ocean temperature (e.g. due to global warming) leads to an increase in the production of the DMS precursor dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP), and thus to DMS, this would result in a cooling effect of the planet due to an increase in cloud albedo. Since the postulation of the climate feedback hypothesis many papers have been published discussing the biochemistry of DMS (and its precursors) and its link to climate. It is important to quantify the concentrations of DMS in the ocean and the flux to the atmosphere. Classical measurements of DMS rely on shipboard observations and experiments, but the methodology is intrinsically limited to small space and time scales. Satellite remote sensing offers the potential for synoptic, global observation of the oceans and could resolve many of the current uncertainties, but can remote sensing be used to determine DMS concentrations in the ocean and the DMS flux to the atmosphere? Satellite instruments measure ocean colour by detecting the upwelling radiance in a number of wavelengths which correspond to high, medium and low absorption by phytoplankton pigments (chlorophyll). Thus, sensors measure chlorophyll (Chl) concentrations instead of DMS. Once a Chl-DMS link is established, it would be very easy to predict DMS values in the water, but some fences have to be taken. Until now, no tight relations have been found, but the species composition seems to be an important factor influencing DMS concentrations and models have been developed. It should be possible to use remote sensing to determine DMS concentrations in the ocean and the flux to the atmosphere, when the DMS cycling processes are well understood.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:31
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:31

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