First oceanic measurements of ethanol and propanol

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Abstract

[1] The role of the ocean in the cycling of ethanol and propanol remains unanswered due to a total lack of data on their concentrations in seawater. We report the first measurements of these low molecular mass alcohols made during two field experiments in the Atlantic Ocean. Ethanol concentrations ranged from 2–33 nM. Our analytical technique allowed the separation of the two propanol isomers and concentrations of 1- and 2-propanol varied between 2–22 nM and 1–19 nM respectively. Global extrapolation of the sea - air fluxes indicate that the ocean may be an important source for these compounds to the atmosphere and suggest that the magnitude of the fluxes may be enhanced in natural upwelling regions.

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