Distribution and drivers of marine isoprene concentration across the Southern Ocean
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Published by MDPI Publishing.
© 2020 by the authors.
Isoprene is a biogenic trace gas produced by terrestrial vegetation and marine phytoplankton. In the remote oceans, where secondary aerosols are mostly biogenic, marine isoprene emissions affect atmospheric chemistry and influence cloud formation and brightness. Here, we present the first compilation of new and published measurements of isoprene concentrations in the Southern Ocean and explore their distribution patterns. Surface ocean isoprene concentrations in November through April span 1 to 94 pM. A band of higher concentrations is observed around a latitude of ≈40° S and a surface sea temperature of 15 °C. High isoprene also occurs in high productivity waters near islands and continental coasts. We use concurrent measurements of physical, chemical, and biological variables to explore the main potential drivers of isoprene concentration by means of paired regressions and multivariate analysis. Isoprene is best explained by phytoplankton-related variables like the concentrations of chlorophyll-a, photoprotective pigments and particulate organic matter, photosynthetic efficiency (influenced by iron availability), and the chlorophyll-a shares of most phytoplankton groups, and not by macronutrients or bacterial abundance. A simple statistical model based on chlorophyll-a concentration and a sea surface temperature discontinuity accounts for half of the variance of isoprene concentrations in surface waters of the Southern Ocean.
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