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Development and validation of a shipboard system for measuring high-resolution vertical profiles of aqueous dimethylsulfide concentrations using chemical ionisation mass spectrometry

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Environmental context Dimethylsulfide, a trace gas produced by oceanic plankton, is a key chemical species in the global cycles of sulfur and aerosols, with implications that span marine ecology to climate regulation. Knowledge of what governs dimethylsulfide production in the surface ocean depends on our ability to measure concentration changes over time and depth. We describe a sampling and analytical system that provides continuous shipboard measurements of dimethylsulfide concentrations in high-resolution vertical profiles. Abstract A sampling and analytical system has been developed for shipboard measurements of high-resolution vertical profiles of the marine trace gas dimethylsulfide (DMS). The system consists of a tube attached to a conductivity-temperature- depth (CTD) probe with a peristaltic pump on deck that delivers seawater to a membrane equilibrator and atmospheric pressure chemical ionisation mass spectrometer (Eq-APCIMS). This allows profiling of DMS concentrations to a depth of 50m, with a depth resolution of 1.3-2m and a detection limit of nearly 0.1nmolL-1. The seawater is also plumbed to allow parallel operation of additional continuous instruments, and simultaneous collection of discrete samples for complementary analyses. A valve alternates delivery of seawater from the vertical profiler and the ship's underway intake, thereby providing high-resolution measurements in both the vertical and horizontal dimensions. Tests conducted on various cruises in the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans show good agreement between the Eq-APCIMS measurements and purge and trap gas chromatography with flame photometric detection (GC-FPD) and demonstrate that the delivery of seawater from the underway pump did not significantly affect endogenous DMS concentrations. Combining the continuous flow DMS analysis with high-frequency hydrographic, optical, biological and meteorological measurements will greatly improve the spatial-temporal resolution of seagoing measurements and improve our understanding of DMS cycling. © CSIRO 2014.

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