Reviews and syntheses: Carbonyl sulfide as a multi-scale tracer for carbon and water cycles

Mary E. Whelan*, Sinikka T. Lennartz, Teresa E. Gimeno, Richard Wehr, Georg Wohlfahrt, Yuting Wang, Linda M. J. Kooijmans, Timothy W. Hilton, Sauveur Belviso, Philippe Peylin, Roisin Commane, Wu Sun, Huilin Chen, Le Kuai, Ivan Mammarella, Kadmiel Maseyk, Max Berkelhammer, King-Fai Li, Dan Yakir, Andrew ZumkehrYoko Katayama, Jerome Ogee, Felix M. Spielmann, Florian Kitz, Bharat Rastogi, Juergen Kesselmeier, Julia Marshall, Kukka-Maaria Erkkila, Lisa Wingate, Laura K. Meredith, Wei He, Ruediger Bunk, Thomas Launois, Timo Vesala, Johan A. Schmidt, Cedric G. Fichot, Ulli Seibt, Scott Saleska, Eric S. Saltzman, Stephen A. Montzka, Joseph A. Berry, J. Elliott Campbell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

For the past decade, observations of carbonyl sulfide (OCS or COS) have been investigated as a proxy for carbon uptake by plants. OCS is destroyed by enzymes that interact with CO2 during photosynthesis, namely carbonic anhydrase (CA) and RuBisCO, where CA is the more important one. The majority of sources of OCS to the atmosphere are geographically separated from this large plant sink, whereas the sources and sinks of CO2 are co-located in ecosystems. The drawdown of OCS can therefore be related to the uptake of CO2 without the added complication of co-located emissions comparable in magnitude. Here we review the state of our understanding of the global OCS cycle and its applications to ecosystem carbon cycle science. OCS uptake is correlated well to plant carbon uptake, especially at the regional scale. OCS can be used in conjunction with other independent measures of ecosystem function, like solar-induced fluorescence and carbon and water isotope studies. More work needs to be done to generate global coverage for OCS observations and to link this powerful atmospheric tracer to systems where fundamental questions concerning the carbon and water cycle remain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3625-3657
Number of pages33
JournalBiogeosciences
Volume15
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18-Jun-2018

Keywords

  • REDUCED SULFUR GASES
  • OH-INITIATED OXIDATION
  • QUANTUM CASCADE LASER
  • FT-IR PRODUCT
  • ANTHROPOGENIC EMISSIONS INVENTORY
  • GLOBAL BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLE
  • NORTHEAST ATLANTIC-OCEAN
  • GROSS PRIMARY PRODUCTION
  • ORGANIC VOLATILE SULFUR
  • SOUTHERN GREAT-PLAINS

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