Methanol has a significant impact upon the oxidising capacity of the atmosphere and can oxidise sulphuric acid (H2SO4) to methane sulphonate MSA in cloud droplets (Singh et al., 2000). It has been demonstrated that terrestrial plants may represent a sizeable source of methanol to the atmosphere (Riemer et al., 1998), while preliminary studies of algal cultures suggest that oceanic phytoplankton may also produce methanol (see Heikes et al., 2002).
Based on concentrations measured in the troposphere and lower stratosphere (Singh et al., 2000) and the conclusions of budgetary modeling studies (Heikes et al., 2002), it has been suggested that the ocean may be a substantial source of methanol. However, recent results indicate that the North Atlantic may in fact be a net sink for methanol (Carpenter et al., 2004; Williams et al., 2004).
More oceanic measurements of methanol are required to substantiate the opposing conclusions presented so far. Please submit any data collected to the Project Integrator.
Implementation Group 1 also examines these other short-lived components: