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Deposition to the sea surface is a major atmospheric loss pathway for many important trace gases, such as sulfur dioxide (SO2). The air–sea transfer of SO2 is controlled entirely on the atmospheric side of the air–sea interface due to high effective solubility and other physical– chemical properties. There have been few direct field measurements of such fluxes due to the challenges associated with making fast-response measurements of highly soluble trace gases at very low ambient levels. In this study, we report direct eddy covariance air–sea flux measurements of SO2, sensible heat, water vapor, and momentum. The measurements were made over shallow coastal waters from the Scripps Pier, La Jolla, CA, using negative ion chemical ionization mass spectrometry as the SO2 sensor. The observed transfer velocities for SO2, sensible heat, water vapor, and momentum and their wind speed dependences indicate that SO2 fluxes can be reliably measured using this approach. As expected, the transfer velocities for SO2, sensible heat, and water vapor are lower than that for momentum, demonstrating the contribution of molecular diffusion to the overall air-side resistance to gas transfer. Furthermore, transfer velocities of SO2 were lower than those of sensible heat and water vapor when observed simultaneously. This result is attributed to diffusive resistance in the interfacial layer of the air–sea interface.


This article was originally published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, volume 18, in 2018. DOI:10.5194/acp-2018-495 (58 kB)
Supplement to the final revised paper

acp-2018-495.pdf (673 kB)
Discussion paper (published on 13 Jun 2018) (17 kB)
Supplement to the discussion paper


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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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