Abstract

Dimethylsulfide (DMS) released from phytoplankton produces cloud condensation nuclei in the marine troposphere, thereby providing a climate-regulating mechanism by increasing cloud albedo. A 200-k.y.-long sedimentary record from the equatorial Atlantic of DMS-producing phytoplankton suggests that DMS production increased during the glacial stages, thus potentially working to further cool the glacial world. Important factors limiting the operation of this possible feedback mechanism for planetary cooling may be the strength of trade winds and the availability of fine, iron-rich dust needed to fertilize growth of DMS producers.

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