5 years ago

Spume Drops:Their Potential Role in Air-Sea Gas Exchange

Penny Vlahos, Edward C. Monahan, Allison Staniec
After summarizing the time scales defining the change of the physical properties of spume and other droplets cast up from the sea surface, the time scales governing drop-atmosphere gas exchange are compared. Following a broad review of the spume drop production functions described in the literature, a sub-set of these functions is selected via objective criteria, to represent typical, upper-bound, and lower-bound production functions. Three complementary mechanisms driving spume-atmosphere gas exchange are described, and one is then used to estimate the relative importance, over a broad range of wind speeds, of this spume drop mechanism compared to the conventional, diffusional, sea surface mechanism in air-sea gas exchange. While remaining uncertainties in the wind dependence of the spume drop production flux, and in the immediate sea surface gas flux, preclude a definitive conclusion, the findings of this study strongly suggest that, at high wind speeds (>20 m s−1 for dimethyl sulfide and >30 m s−1 for gases such a carbon dioxide), spume drops do make a significant contribution to air-sea gas exchange.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/2017JC013293

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