New research has found that more than 1 / 3 DMS emitted from the ocean does not help form new clouds
a few years ago, this group of researchers led by Patrick Veres of NOAA found that in the process of turning into sulfuric acid, DMS will first become a molecule called hpmtf, which has never been confirmed before. In this new study, the team used NASA’s aircraft full of instruments, and then captured the details of these chemicals in clouds and clear sky Detailed measurement results.
“this is a huge DC-8 aircraft. It is a flight laboratory,” Bertram said. “Basically all seats have been removed and very accurate chemical instruments have been put in, which enables the research team to measure the emission molecules and all chemical intermediates in the atmosphere at very low concentrations.”
the research team found from the flight data that hpmtf can easily dissolve into the water droplets of existing clouds, which permanently eliminates sulfur from the process of cloud nucleation. In cloudless areas, more hpmtf survive and become sulfur that can help form new clouds.
under the leadership of the collaborators of Florida State University, the team is working in a large global ocean These new measurements are illustrated in the gas chemistry model. They found that 36% of the sulfur from DMS is lost to the cloud in this way. Another 15% of the sulfur is lost through other processes, so the result is that less than half of the sulfur released by marine plankton as DMS can help form clouds.
“This loss of sulfur to the cloud reduces the formation rate of small particles, so it reduces the formation rate of the cloud core itself,” Bertram said. “The impact on the brightness and other characteristics of the cloud will have to be explored in the future.”
until recently, researchers still largely ignored the impact of clouds on chemical processes over the ocean, in part because it is difficult to obtain good data from clouds. However, new research shows that the correct instrument has the ability to obtain these data, and clouds can play an important role, even affecting the process of generating clouds itself.
Bertram said: “This work has indeed reopened the field of marine chemistry.”