Methyl iodide production in the ocean: implications for climate change

Smythe-Wright, D.; Boswell, S.M.; Breithaupt, P.; Davidson, R.D.; Dimmer, C.H.; Eiras Diaz, L.B.. 2006 Methyl iodide production in the ocean: implications for climate change. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 20 (3). GB3003.

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Methyl iodide concentrations of up to 45 pmol L−1, which flux into the marine boundary layer, have been found in low latitude waters of the Atlantic and Indian oceans. These high concentrations correlate well with the abundance of Prochlorococcus, and we have confirmed the release of methyl iodide by this species in laboratory culture experiments. Extrapolating, we estimate the global ocean flux of iodine to the marine boundary layer from this single source to be 5.3 × 1011 g I yr−1, which is a large fraction of the previously estimated total global flux and the implications are far reaching. Climate prediction models suggest increases in sea surface temperature and changes in biogeographical provenances in response to global warming. Such changes are likely to increase the abundance of Prochlorococcus, and we estimate a concomitant ~15% increase in the release of iodine species to the atmosphere. Potentially, this could help mitigate global warming.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0886-6236
Additional Keywords: climate change, methyl iodide, ocean production
Date made live: 05 Feb 2007 +0 (UTC)

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