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Dimethylsulfide Emission: Climate Control by Marine Algae?
(Released November 2003)

 
  by Katina Bucher Norris  

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Glossary

Albedo: surface reflectivity; the ratio of the amount of light reflected by a surface in relation to the total amount of light falling upon that surface

Antioxidants: substances that protect cells from being damaged by oxidation

Atmospheric boundary layer: the layer of air in direct contact with Earths surface (1-2 kilometers)

Biogenic gas: a gas synthesized by biological activity

CERES: one of several international programs that observes clouds from space using multiple satellites

Cloud condensation nuclei: small particles in the atmosphere that water vapor condense on and form clouds

DMSP-lyase (dimethylpropiothetin dethiomethylase): the enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of dimethylsulfoniopropionate to dimethylsulfide

Gaia hypothesis: Earth homeostasis is maintained by active feedback processes operated automatically and unconsciously by the biota

Greenhouse gases: gases in the Earths atmosphere that let sunlight through but absorb the outgoing infrared radiation (heat) as it is radiated back towards space, trapping the heat in the atmosphere

Osmolyte: a neutral solute that reacts minimally with the contents of a cell while protecting it from drying out, or in a cells response to salinity changes

Outgoing longwave radiation: sunlight warms the Earths oceans and land, this stored energy is then returned back into space as heat (infrared radiation). Longwave radiation is the way the Earth cools off

Oxidative stressors: conditions that cause stress and subject cells to oxidative damage

Photic zone: area of oceans (or lakes) near the surface with enough light to support photosynthesis

Phytoplankton: microscopic algae in the upper ocean

Radiation balance: the Earths energy balance between the incoming solar energy and outgoing energy radiated out as longwave radiation

Terrestrial radiation: stored heat is emitted as longwave radiation by the Earth, including its land, oceans, and atmosphere

Troposphere: the lowest layer of the Earth's atmosphere, where clouds form and most weather phenomena occur

Tropospheric sulphate aerosols: tiny sulphate-containing particles suspended in the troposphere

Viral lysis: dissolution or destruction of the cell membrane or cell wall by a virus

Zooplankton: small animals or non-photosynthetic protists carried by ocean or water currents