DMS role in ENSO cycle in the tropics

Xu, L, Cameron-Smith P, Russell LM, Ghan SJ, Liu Y, Elliott S, Yang Y, Lou S, Lamjiri MA, Manizza M.  2016.  DMS role in ENSO cycle in the tropics. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. 121:13,537-13,558.

Date Published:



0305 Aerosols and particles, 4215 Climate and interannual variability, cloud, DMS, enso, sulfate aerosol


We examined the multiyear mean and variability of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and its relationship to sulfate aerosols, as well as cloud microphysical and radiative properties. We conducted a 150 year simulation using preindustrial conditions produced by the Community Earth System Model embedded with a dynamic DMS module. The model simulated the mean spatial distribution of DMS emissions and burden, as well as sulfur budgets associated with DMS, SO2, H2SO4, and sulfate that were generally similar to available observations and inventories for a variety of regions. Changes in simulated sea-to-air DMS emissions and associated atmospheric abundance, along with associated aerosols and cloud and radiative properties, were consistently dominated by El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle in the tropical Pacific region. Simulated DMS, aerosols, and clouds showed a weak positive feedback on sea surface temperature. This feedback suggests a link among DMS, aerosols, clouds, and climate on interannual timescales. The variability of DMS emissions associated with ENSO was primarily caused by a higher variation in wind speed during La Niña events. The simulation results also suggest that variations in DMS emissions increase the frequency of La Niña events but do not alter ENSO variability in terms of the standard deviation of the Niño 3 sea surface temperature anomalies.