Great Jumping Jalapeno peppers! I've missed a couple days on this blog. Reality intruded. The short story is, the long fuse on my future is shortening day by day and I anticipate some fireworks to start after Halloween.
Tonight, I visited the house of a rather pale beauty with long black hair. She asked me if I liked wine, but due to her accent and a few missing fingers, I thought she asked me if I liked vegetables, which, yeah I do. So somehow I wound up with Vampire Merlot from Transylvania.
Alas, I do not drink... wine. Even this. Especially this. I may offer it as a prize for something, such as the first one to volunteer to help me move. This can be used for Halloween or just a game of spin the bottle, goth-style.
Joking aside, the juxtaposition of sulfites and the dark, foggy mists of vampire movies reminds me of something that's rarely talked about: why ocean waves smell so strong and tangy and where clouds and fog come from.
The answer is dimethylsulfide, a compound created by algae,the one-celled plants of the ocean and the mainstay of the marine food web. Dimethylsulfide is then released from the ocean into the air and then reacts with oxygen and sunlight to form sulfur aerosol compounds.
Water vapor in the air condenses around those sulfur aerosol compounds to form clouds.
(Sunset photograph copyright 2006 by Charmaine Lydon)
As clouds form and spread, sunlight levels decrease, cooling the earth. The lower sunlight levels reduces plants' ability to photosynthesize and remove carbon dioxide from the air. This causes carbon dioxide levels to rise, thus triggering further warming, if not necessarily clearer skies.
So to model global warming and climate change, we need to understand exactly how dimethylsulfide levels depend on marine life.
Until this week in Science magazine, scientists were not sure if dimethylsulfide was digested along with the algae or not. It turns out that well over 1/3 of the marine bacteria species may digest dimethylsulfide just fine, keeping the sulfur inside the food web of the oceans, rather than vaporizing into air. This partial mop-up of dimethylsulfide allows the algae to munch on sunlight without releasing too much dimethylsulfide and blocking their sun sources. This keeps tropical oceans nice and blue-green.
This is big news. Bacteria in the ocean can curb the formation of clouds? Those busy tiny one-celled bugs could potentially influence the formation of hurricanes?
Now that's fodder for a horror movie.