Impact of sea-ice melt on dimethyl sulphide (sulfoniopropionate) inventories in surface waters of Marguerite Bay, West-Antarctic Peninsula.
The Southern Ocean is a hotspot of the climate-relevant organic sulfur compound dimethyl sulfide (DMS). Spatial and temporal variability in DMS concentration is higher than in any other oceanic region, especially in the marginal ice zone. During a one-week expedition across the continental shelf of the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), from the shelf break into Marguerite Bay, in January 2015, spatial heterogeneity of DMS and its precursor dimethyl sulfoniopropionate (DMSP) was studied and linked with environmental conditions, including sea-ice melt events. Concentrations of sulfur compounds, particulate organic carbon (POC) and chlorophyll a in the surface waters varied by a factor of 5–6 over the entire transect. DMS and DMSP concentrations were an order of magnitude higher than currently inferred in climatologies for the WAP region. Particulate DMSP concentrations were correlated most strongly with POC and the abundance of haptophyte algae within the phytoplankton community, which, in turn, was linked with sea-ice melt. The strong sea-ice signal in the distribution of DMS(P) implies that DMS(P) production is likely to decrease with ongoing reductions in sea-ice cover along the WAP. This has implications for feedback processes on the region's climate system.
Authors: Stefels, Jacqueline, van Leeuwe, Maria A., Jones, Elizabeth M., Meredith, Michael P., Venables, Hugh J., Webb, Alison L., Henley, Sian F.