New discovery: Surface of the oceans affects climate more than thought

From the LEIBNIZ INSTITUTE FOR TROPOSPHERIC RESEARCH (TROPOS) and the department of settled science comes this new discovery related to cloud formation.

Surface of the oceans affects climate more than thought

First detected abiotic source of isoprene

More isoprene is apparently produced on the border between ocean and atmosphere than previously thought. The gas contributes to the formation of clouds and has therefore influence on the global climate. Photo: Tilo Arnhold/TROPOS

More isoprene is apparently produced on the border between ocean and atmosphere than previously thought. The gas contributes to the formation of clouds and has therefore influence on the global climate. Photo: Tilo Arnhold/TROPOS

Lyon/ Leipzig. The oceans seem to produce significantly more isoprene, and consequently affect the climate more than previously thought. This emerges from a study by the Institute of Catalysis and Environment in Lyon (IRCELYON, CNRS / University Lyon 1) and the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), which had studied samples of the surface film in the laboratory. The results underline the global significance of the chemical processes at the border between ocean and atmosphere, write the researchers in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Isoprene is a gas that is formed by both the vegetation and the oceans. It is very important for the climate because this gas can form particles that can become clouds and then later affect temperature and precipitation. Previously it was assumed that isoprene is primarily caused by biological processes from plankton in the sea water. The atmospheric chemists from France and Germany, however, could now show that isoprene could also be formed without biological sources in surface film of the oceans by sunlight and so explain the large discrepancy between field measurements and models. The new identified photochemical reaction is therefore important to improve the climate models.

The oceans not only take up heat and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, they are also sources of various gaseous compounds, thereby affecting the global climate. A key role is played by the so-called surface microlayer (SML), especially at low wind speed. In these few micrometers thin layer different organic substances such as dissolved organic matter, fat and amino acids, proteins, lipids are accumulating as well as trace metals, dust and microorganisms.

For the now published study, the research team took samples from the Norther Atlantic Ocean. The surface film was collected in the Raunefjord near Bergen in Norway. For this purpose, a glass plate is immersed in water and then again carefully pulled from the water. The 200 micron thin film sticks to the glass and is then scraped off with a wiper. The sample thus obtained is analyzed in the laboratory later. At the Institute of Catalysis and Environment in Lyon (IRCELYON), which belongs to the French research organization CNRS and the University of Lyon 1, the team investigated its photochemical properties during which collected samples were irradiated with light and the gases were analyzed: it became clear that isoprene was produced in magtnetudes that were previously attributed solely to plankton. “We were able for the first time trace back the production of this important aerosol precursor to abiotic sources, so far global calculations consider only biological sources,” explains Dr. Christian George from IRCELYON.

In the laboratory of IRCELYON in Lyon the sea water was artificially illuminated by the group led by Dr. George Christian. The resultant gases were analysed to investigate the photochemical processes at the interface between sea water and the atmosphere. Photo: IRCELYON

In the laboratory of IRCELYON in Lyon the sea water was artificially illuminated by the group led by Dr. George Christian. The resultant gases were analysed to investigate the photochemical processes at the interface between sea water and the atmosphere. Photo: IRCELYON

Thus, it is now possible to estimate more closely the total amounts of isoprene, which are emitted. So far, however, local measurements indicated levels of about 0.3 megatonnes per year, global simulations of around 1.9 megatons per year. But the team of Lyon and Leipzig estimates that the newly discovered photochemical pathway alone contribute 0.2 to 3.5 megatons per year additionally and could explain the recent disagreements. “The existence of the organic films at the ocean surface due to biological activities therefore influences the exchange processes between air and sea in a unexpected strong way. The photochemical processes at this interface could be a very significant source of isoprene”, summarizes Prof. Hartmut Herrmann from TROPOS.

The processes at the boundary between water and air are currently of great interest in science: In August, the team from the CNRS and TROPOS presented evidence in Scientific Reports, the open-access journal of Nature, that dissolved organic material in the surface film is strengthening the chemical conversion of saturated fatty acids into unsaturated gas phase products under the influence of sunlight. For the first time it was realized that these products have to be of biological origin not only, but also abiotic processes at the interface between two media have the potential to produce such molecules. In early September another team from Canada, the US, Great Britain and Germany showed in the journal Nature that organic material from the surface film of the oceans can be an important source for the formation of ice in clouds over remote regions of the North Atlantic, North Pacific and Southern Ocean. The recent publication of the teams from CNRS and TROPOS in Environmental Science & Technology provides indications how the climate models in the important details of the influence of isoprene could be improved. Because of the great importance this paper will be open access as “Editor’s Choice”.

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Publications:

Raluca Ciuraru, Ludovic Fine, Manuela van Pinxteren, Barbara D’Anna, Hartmut Herrmann, and Christian George (2015): Unravelling new processes at interfaces: photochemical isoprene production at the sea surface. Environmental Science & Technology. Just Accepted Manuscript

DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b02388 http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.5b02388 The study was funded by the European Research Council ERC (ERC Grant Agreement 290852 – Airsea).

Raluca Ciuraru, Ludovic Fine, Manuela van Pinxteren, Barbara D’Anna, Hartmut Herrmann & Christian George (2015): Photosensitized production of functionalized and unsaturated organic compounds at the air-sea interface. Scientific Reports, 5:12741, DOI: 10.1038/srep12741 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep12741 The study was funded by the European Research Council ERC (ERC Grant Agreement 290852 – Airsea).

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93 thoughts on “New discovery: Surface of the oceans affects climate more than thought

      • “””””….. New discovery: Surface of the oceans affects climate more than thought …..”””””
        I never would have imagined that ” thought ” could affect climate !!
        Well I guess it’s really obvious; you simply make it all up in your head; isn’t that what they are doing ??
        G

    • There are numerous spelling and grammar errors in the article, which reads like an ESL (English as a Second Language) paper. Ten minutes’ work by a decent editor could clean up the article quite well. In the meantime, it is mostly quite understandable, and I found it interesting.

      • Well the way I read it, ALL of those organic (carboniferous) molecules are biotic anyway.
        Just because they didn’t catch any micro-leprechauns in their surface film, doesn’t make those impurities abiotic.
        g

  1. The oceans are alive with life forms for many, many, many millions of years. Ice Ages affect this relatively little. All the forces that existed in the past exist today and even though we are definitely in a historic Ice Age multi million year cycle now (more than one year) we see the differential between the oceans that hardly changed in the last 20 million years and land masses specifically in the Northern Hemisphere that are hammered by these Ice Ages.
    The ‘steady state’ climate created by our oceans and life forms has not been able to stop these regular, powerful Ice Ages. So, the ‘effect on the climate’ of these ocean systems is…not all that powerful when it comes to landmasses suddenly being covered by a mile thick ice sheet.

    • @emsnews – “the ‘steady state’ climate…not been able to stop these regular, powerful Ice Ages.” The oceans haven’t been in a steady state. They had to be doing something really different and powerful to supply all that ice tied up in ice ages.

  2. No doubt about it, the science is settled….kinda….sorta…maybe….uhhhhhh…..(the new grant application is due?)…ABSOLUTELY!!!

  3. This could be one of the most important papers on climate .. and given the current precarious situation of “global warming” in the news which has all but disappeared following the VW scandal … it may well be the end of “Global warming” as a serious scare.

      • That is a good analogy Mike. It is not hard to see, when discussing climate with motivated people, that they have a deep desire for a narrow view of climate to be true. Most commonly in my experience CAGW. It is no easy task to separate from someone that which they hold on to so dearly. That they self admittedly have no understanding of the subject seems irrelevant to them. They have their handful of bullet points that seem iron clad in their view. Even though when questioned on any particular one they are at loss to explain or back up their assertions.
        What an interesting turn We have made. From nature being the actions of the gods and a wrath upon the people. To people like Machiavelli in The Prince calling for the… taking advantage of the good goddess Fortuna. And Francis Bacon in The New Atlantis showing the potential benefits of concurring nature. To today with man replacing the gods and becoming the scourge upon nature itself. At least we don’t lack self-importance!

  4. The Ocean / atmosphere interface is the point of activity of the fume scrubber that creates the air we breath. For greatest effectiveness it requires air over water speeds greater then 4,000 feet per minute. The salt laden organic soup , or dirty, water is much more effective then clean water would be at cleaning the air…pg

    • Further; Air over water speed creates turbulence that improves the ability of molecules to move through the surface tension, “dirty water” lowers the strength of the surface tension…pg

  5. …Surface of the oceans affects climate more than thought…
    HERESY!! Everyone (well, 97% of everyone) knows that it’s ONLY the demon gas CO2 which is responsible for heat waves/cold spells/droughts/floods/poor spelling/….

    • So clearly the problem or blockage if you will, lies with the thinking or in this case the lack of thinking. The reality of the ocean effect on climate has always been there;
      the ‘ thinking ‘ , not so much.
      g

    • It does. And it’s warming up. Fancy that. But hey, let’s rely on cherry picked scientific data to create new theories. It’s what all the panic-mongers that aren’t part of a very large, very threatened hydrocarbon industry are doing, after all. Then share that new data with the depleting ice shelf and vanishing glacial sheets. Because so far, they’ve been ignoring all this wonderful ‘new science’. GFG!

  6. Ah, yes… The smoking gun… If ONLY the CAGW models would have gotten the isoprene levels right, they’d be spot on…. Got it…
    Clouds are the essential mechanism which ameliorates climate. When the earth warms, there is increased ocean evaporation, more cloud cover, the albedo effect increases, which reflects more sunlight into space, and less warming, and when the earth gets cooler the opposite occurs….
    CO2 has almost NOTHING to do with the global warming or cooling; perhaps 0.5C per doubling, which isn’t anything to worry about….
    If anything, more CO2 would generate more plankton, which would generate more biotic isoprene, leading to more airborne particulates, increased cloud cover and less warming…
    CAGW’s feigned ignorance of cloud cover is their get out of jail free card… When the CAGW hypothesis is finally chucked in the wood chipper, CAGW alarmists will blame their feigned ignorance of cloud cover for getting the CAGW “science” so wrong….

    • I remember when Hanson and his friends were starting out. Their main argument to get access to the government Super Computers was to model Cloud effect on climate, as it was too complex for them and the assets they had to use at that time. After 30 years and their own super computers and billions of dollars they still can’t figure it out…pg

    • Warmer water and more sunlight would also increase the production of isoprenes, both from biological and abiotic sources. More isoprenes would result in an increase in clouds.
      I wonder is there has been a study that tries to relate isoprene levels to cloud levels, under various conditions.

      • The ” logarithmic ” effect of CO2 is not statistically distinguishable from perfectly linear based on what ‘ reliable ‘ real measurements of atmospheric CO2 that we have.
        Ln (1-x) = -x – (x^2 )/ 2 – (x^3) / 3 – …
        So for the small fractional changes we have observed for x the CO2 abundance the log is not distinguishable from linear given the measurement uncertainties.
        The theory is no more believable either.
        g

    • Samurai says, “If anything, more CO2 would generate more plankton, which would generate more biotic isoprene, leading to more airborne particulates, increased cloud cover and less warming…”
      ================================================================
      So how long for this negative feedback to be in the climate models Certainly they will rush to have this in time for Paris?

  7. It is very encouraging to see climate science research having some validity – a rare event for sure, but encouraging nonetheless.

    • I wouldn’t call this climate science per se. It strikes me as being more about the chemistry of the ocean’s surface. It just happens to have some implications for the global climate models.

  8. “The surface film was collected in the Raunefjord near Bergen in Norway. For this purpose, a glass plate is immersed in water and then again carefully pulled from the water. The 200 micron thin film sticks to the glass and is then scraped off with a wiper. The sample thus obtained is analyzed in the laboratory later.”
    And someone is going to claim that this generalizes to the surface of all oceans and impacts the global climate more than we thought because we found something in an area with heavy ship traffic, and runoff from developed coastline, that’s located off an extreme north section of the Atlantic?

  9. I am not surprised in the least. Welcome to planet Water. Just another emergent phenomena for Willis to study ( give a busy man another job if you want it done right ) to add to the ever increasing number of governing atmospheric controls. Wind speed! who would have thought! Just wait until he looks at aeolian biota, great cloud seeds are they. Or it may be that pond or ocean scum is the main governor of climate… just saying… I just think that the +/- 10 degree C governor of the climate is biotic in origin.

    • governor of the climate is biotic in origin.
      =================
      evolution favors the development of life that can regulate climate to keep itself alive. after a couple of billion years of trying, it seems likely that cyanobacteria/algae have it worked out. those that got it wrong are no longer with us. those that got it right have gone on to become the dominant lifeform on the planet.

    • Bill > Wind speed! who would have thought!
      Actually as windspeed should decrease the production of isoprene because the surface mixes.
      Which means a positive feedback loop. As the globe warms, winds increase, decreasing the negative feedback loop if isoprene.
      Peter

      • Why would a warmer globe cause increasing winds? According to NASA charts, wind speeds are higher in winter than in summer, both on the northern and southern hemispheres. If the poles warm faster than the rest of the planet, there will be less variation in temperature. Wouldn’t that also tend to reduce wind?

  10. So samples in Raunefjord show isoprene, and from that they conclude that the production of isoprene worldwide is both biotic and abiotic. What makes Raunefjord a good proxy for the Southern Atlantic, let alone the Pacific, Indian, and other large bodies of water?
    I’m in favor of data, but I’d like to see a larger sample set before I get too excited. Of course, they couldn’t just say that they need funding to try the data collection in say, hmmm Fijii, no you have to put the PR out there before you go ask for those kind of funds.

    • “So samples in Raunefjord show isoprene, and from that they conclude that the production of isoprene worldwide is both biotic and abiotic. What makes Raunefjord a good proxy for the Southern Atlantic, let alone the Pacific, Indian, and other large bodies of water?”
      Huh?
      They make no such argument or conclusion.
      The argument is the abiotic process could explain the gap between prior measurements and simulations.
      to wit; BEFORE only biotic sources were considered and the gap was wide.
      Now, if you assume abiotic sources.. there is no gap.
      clearly you continue to study more areas. to confirm.

    • They couldn’t get plane tickets to Hawaii to sample the Pacific at the equator? It could have been sold as a working vacation. LOL.

  11. So they have discovered the Oceans affect climate. I figured that out as a child living on the east coast of England watching clouds form on warm day. Can I have my grant money for this ‘research’ please ?

    • Keith, did you wash the house windows and save any of the scum? Bet Mama would not pay for the chemical testing, so it could be traced back to an error on her part. Be sure to write up for lost interest on the money too. Haha

  12. This is likely to be another nail in the coffin of global climate models that simulate a strongly negative indirect aerosol forcing change over the industrial period, which serves to prevent highly sensitive models from warming excessively until the last decade or two. As forcing from the first (main) indirect aerosol effect is related to the logarithm of cloud condensation nucleii (CCN) concentration, a higher background preindustrial, natural CCN level, which isoprene contributes to, leads to a smaller negative forcing change over the industrial period.
    The paper does not seem to be open access; maybe they meant that it would be when published in print.

    • Yes, I spotted that too Peter. A rather surprising thing for a tropospheric research institution to espouse.

  13. There was a large discrepancy between field measurements and models. So they went back, did some more basic science and discovered a source they had not known about.
    NOW THAT IS HOW SCIENCE IS SUPPOSED TO BE DONE.

    • Like New Math, this is the era of New Science, however.
      How New Science is supposed to be done: protect the paradigm, at all costs.

    • No it isn’t. If there is a discrepancy between observations and models, you change the observations to match the models. That’s how settled science is done.

  14. “… and so explain the large discrepancy between field measurements and models.” The field measurements must be wrong and certainly need to be adjusted to fit the models. After all, the models are such a gold standard that they must trump the empirical data. Time to call in Dr. Karl and the GISS Pause-busters.

      • poorly understood, yet they still proclaim to know with great confidence how the climate works.
        Both statements can’t possibly be true. So which is the lie?

      • “poorly understood, yet they still proclaim to know with great confidence how the climate works.
        Both statements can’t possibly be true. So which is the lie?”
        This is the lie “They still proclaim”
        “They” proclaim no such thing.

      • The IPCC and its supporters sure seem to have lots of very detailed and self confident ideas on how we should turn the world upside down to cope with something they apparently have never claimed they have great confidence in understanding.
        The standard response to that observation of course is, turning the world upside down.is just common sense like buying insurance.
        A more proper analogy to most of the proposed solutions is preemptively amputating your limbs because someday you might get gangrene.

  15. Isoprene is not a gas but a low boiling liquid (BP = ca. 34C). It would be a volatile liquid at room temperature (25C).

  16. At some time they maybe also find that land has a large influence on climate?
    Normally we are told that it is the climate that influences land.

  17. Svensmark theory, as I recall it, claims that hydrogen sulphide is released from the oceans. This gas is then oxidised to sulphur dioxide when the sun comes up, with UV light being the catalyst. The sulphur dioxide then forms droplets of sulphuric acid, which assist in cloud formation, with the action of muons.

  18. Reblogged this on | truthaholics and commented:
    “For the first time it was realized that these products have to be of biological origin not only, but also abiotic processes at the interface between two media have the potential to produce such molecules.”

  19. It seems to me that it all gets back to cloud variability and, ultimately, to Henrik Svensmark’s theory on cosmic rays-solar activity-cloud formation, which in turn determine the energy that reaches the surface of the oceans.

  20. I think this is the “Institute’s” way of sidling into Willis’s theory. Next they will discover that cloud development over warm SST have a “governor” effect on climate. Isoprene indeed.

    • I feel that it’s a blatant ripoff of Willis’s idea. But, what do the climate minions of Algore care? Like Dr “Piltdown” Mann, they are only in it for the money.

  21. Can it explain also the seasonal destruction of ozone?
    It will be so great for humanity to be able to reuse the CFC, ban only because he was in public domain.
    Considering that the efficiency of Isoprene to destroy ozone match the cycle of the ozone hole

  22. I read somewhere today someone saying that if this is true then it means the warming effect of CO2 is MUCH GREATER than previously thought.

  23. ‘But the team of Lyon and Leipzig estimates that the newly discovered photochemical pathway alone contribute 0.2 to 3.5 megatons per year additionally and could explain the recent disagreements.’
    No.
    A quick check on the worldwide waste of time says that terrestrial plants emit HUNDREDS of megatons of isoprene every year. This alleged ocean process is a rounding error.
    Also, 0.2 to 3.5 megatons per year is crap. 3.5 is 1750% of 0.2. Their estimate varies by more than an order of magnitude.

  24. So basically it wasn’t lightning or a comet hitting the earth that started life but the complex interaction of ionized materials at the water/air interface of the ocean.
    Ok!
    Wait… there’s errors?
    Oh damn, no Nobel for me.

  25. The Sea take up heat from WHAT ! They reflect IR and are more cooled by contact with moving AIR due to evaporation than warmed………..Seas are warmed by Solar radiation – Solar Radiation and – er – Solar Radiation.

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