A suite of oxygenated volatile organic compounds (OVOCs – acetaldehyde, acetone, propanal, butanal and butanone) were measured concurrently in the surface water and atmosphere of the South China Sea and Sulu Sea in November 2011. A strong correlation was observed between all OVOC concentrations in the surface seawater along the entire cruise track, except for acetaldehyde, suggesting similar sources and sinks in the surface ocean. Additionally, several phytoplankton groups, such as haptophytes or pelagophytes, were also correlated to all OVOCs, indicating that phytoplankton may be an important source of marine OVOCs in the South China and Sulu seas. Humic- and protein-like fluorescent dissolved organic matter (FDOM) components seemed to be additional precursors for butanone and acetaldehyde. The measurement-inferred OVOC fluxes generally showed an uptake of atmospheric OVOCs by the ocean for all gases, except for butanal. A few important exceptions were found along the Borneo coast, where OVOC fluxes from the ocean to the atmosphere were inferred. The atmospheric OVOC mixing ratios over the northern coast of Borneo were relatively high compared with literature values, suggesting that this coastal region is a local hotspot for atmospheric OVOCs. The calculated amount of OVOCs entrained into the ocean seemed to be an important source of OVOCs to the surface ocean. When the fluxes were out of the ocean, marine OVOCs were found to be enough to control the locally measured OVOC distribution in the atmosphere. Based on our model calculations, at least 0.4 ppb of marine-derived acetone and butanone can reach the upper troposphere, where they may have an important influence on hydrogen oxide radical formation over the western Pacific Ocean.
EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut