Estimate of the Contribution of Biologically Produced Dimethyl Sulfide to the Global Sulfur Cycle

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Science  06 May 1977:
Vol. 196, Issue 4290, pp. 647-648
DOI: 10.1126/science.196.4290.647


Atmospheric dimethyl sulfide (DMS) measurements were made on the Atlantic Coast of the United States at Wallops Island and Cape Henry, Virginia, during June 1975. The very low concentrations, typically less than 30 parts per trillion observed at the Cape Henry site, were thought to result from the smog chemistry associated with the Norfolk metropolitan area. Atmospheric DMS concentrations at the Wallops Island site were much higher, having a geometric mean of 58 parts per trillion and a geometric standard deviation of 2.1. At this site the DMS source strength was estimated to be 6 milligrams of sulfur per square meter per year. Because of wind conditions during this experiment, the DMS source strength is thought to be representative of the DMS source strength of the ocean in the Wallops Island area and is much less than the 130 milligrams of sulfur per square meter per year needed to balance the ocean-atmosphere portion of the global sulfur budget.