Substantial loss of isoprene in the surface ocean due to chemical and biological consumption

Simó, R.; Cortés-Greus, P.; Rodríguez-Ros, P.; Masdeu-Navarro, M.
Communications Earth & Environment
Isoprene contributes to the formation of ozone and secondary organic aerosol in the atmosphere, and thus influences cloud albedo and climate. Isoprene is ubiquitous in the surface open ocean where it is produced by phytoplankton, however emissions from the global ocean are poorly constrained, in part due to a lack of knowledge of oceanic sink or degradation terms. Here, we present analyses of ship-based seawater incubation experiments with samples from the Mediterranean, Atlantic, tropical Pacific and circum-Antarctic and Subantarctic oceans to determine chemical and biological isoprene consumption in the surface ocean. We find the total isoprene loss to be comprised of a constant chemical loss rate of 0.05 ± 0.01 d−1 and a biological consumption rate that varied between 0 and 0.59 d−1 (median 0.03 d−1) and was correlated with chlorophyll-a concentration. We suggest that isoprene consumption rates in the surface ocean are of similar magnitude or greater than ventilation rates to the atmosphere, especially in chlorophyll-a rich waters.
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