Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans








Carbonyl sulfide (COS) in air and dissolved in seawater was determined during a cruise in August 1999 in the Sargasso Sea in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Dissolved concentrations at the sea surface displayed only a weak diel cycle with a mean of 8.6 ± 2.8 pmol dm−3 owing to low abundance of photochemical precursors and high temperatures causing rapid hydrolysis. Depth profiles measured over the oceanic mixed layer revealed significant vertical gradients of COS concentration with higher values at the surface, suggesting that the rate of photochemical production at the surface exceeds the rate of vertical mixing. The mean atmospheric mixing ratio was 486 ± 40 ppt, and calculated sea-air fluxes ranged from 0.03 to 0.8 g COS km−2 d−1. COS dark production, estimated from the predawn COS concentration at the surface and the hydrolysis constant, contributed significantly to the total amount of COS produced. A strong temperature dependence of the COS dark production rate q was found by comparing previously published values. The data further indicate an approximately first-order relationship between q and chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) absorbance at 350 nm, a350, which is used as a proxy for the CDOM content of the water but is likely to covary with other parameters, such as biological activity, that could also affect COS dark production. Together with known functions for COS hydrolysis and solubility, the parameterization of dark production as a function of temperature and a350 allows for the prediction of COS concentrations and saturation ratios as a function of physical and optical seawater properties in the absence of photoproduction. This is used to estimate a lower limit of 0.056 Tg COS yr−1 to the annual COS flux from the ocean to the atmosphere.

Original Publication Citation

Von Hobe, M., Cutter, G., Kettle, A., & Andreae, M. (2001). Dark production: A significant source of oceanic cos. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 106(C12), 31217-31226. doi: 10.1029/2000JC000567