Sea ice concentration impacts dissolved organic gases in the Canadian Arctic Journal Article uri icon



  • Abstract. The marginal sea ice zone has been identified as a source of different climate active gases to the atmosphere due to its unique biogeochemistry. However, it remains highly undersampled and the impact of changes in sea ice concentration on the distributions of these gases is poorly understood. To address this, we present measurements of dissolved methanol, acetone, acetaldehyde, dimethyl sulfide and isoprene in the sea ice zone of the Canadian Arctic from the surface down to 60 m. The measurements were made using a Segmented Flow Coil Equilibrator coupled to a Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometer. These gases varied in concentrations with depth, with the highest concentrations generally observed near the surface. Underway (3–4 m) measurements showed broadly higher concentrations in partial sea ice cover compared to ice-free waters. The large number of depth profiles at different sea ice coverages enables proposition of the likely dominant production processes of these compounds in this area. Methanol concentrations appear to be controlled by specific biological consumption processes. Acetone and acetaldehyde concentrations are influenced by the penetration depth of light and the mixed layer depth, implying dominant photochemical sources in this area. Dimethyl sulfide and isoprene both display higher surface concentrations in partial sea ice coverage compared to ice-free waters due to ice edge blooms. Dimethyl sulfide concentrations sometimes display a subsurface maximum in ice -free conditions, while isoprene displays more reliably a subsurface maximum. Surface gas concentrations were used to estimate their air – sea fluxes. Despite obvious in situ production, we estimate that the sea ice zone is absorbing methanol and acetone from the atmosphere. In contrast, DMS and isoprene are consistently emitted from the ocean, with marked episodes of high emissions during ice-free conditions, suggesting that these gases are produced in ice-covered areas and emitted once the ice has melted. Our measurements show that the seawater concentrations and air-sea fluxes of these gases are clearly impacted by sea ice concentration. These novel measurements and insights will allow us to better constrain the cycling of these gases in the polar regions and their effect on the oxidative capacity and aerosol budget in the Arctic atmosphere.;

publication date

  • October 13, 2021

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • February 1, 2022 3:21 AM

Full Author List

  • Wohl C; Jones AE; Sturges WT; Nightingale PD; Else B; Butterworth BJ; Yang M

author count

  • 7

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