Ice-core record of oceanic emissions of dimethylsulphide during the last climate cycle

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Abstract

THE Vostok ice core in Antarctica has provided one of the longest climate records, enabling the stable-isotope, major-ion and gas composition of the atmosphere to be reconstructed over many thousands of years. Here we present depth profiles along this core of methanesulphonate and non-seasalt sulphate (produced by the atmospheric oxidation of dimethylsulphide), which provide the first historical record of biogenic sulphur emissions from the Southern Hemisphere oceans over a complete glacial–interglacial cycle (160 kyr). Those measurements confirm and extend some previous observations made on a very limited data set from the Dome C ice core in Antarctica, which indicated increased oceanic emissions of dimethylsulphide during the later stages of the glacial period, compared with the present day1. The observed glacial–interglacial variations in methanesulphonate and non-seasalt sulphate confirm that the ocean–atmosphere sulphur cycle is extremely sensitive to climate change.

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Legrand, M., Feniet-Saigne, C., Sattzman, E. et al. Ice-core record of oceanic emissions of dimethylsulphide during the last climate cycle. Nature 350, 144–146 (1991) doi:10.1038/350144a0

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