The influence of environmental drivers on the enrichment of organic carbon in the sea surface microlayer and in submicron aerosol particles – measurements from the Atlantic Ocean.

Van Pinxteren, Manuela, Barthel, Stefan, Fomba, Khanneh Wadinga, Müller, Konrad, Von Tümpling, Wolf and Herrmann, Hartmut (2017) The influence of environmental drivers on the enrichment of organic carbon in the sea surface microlayer and in submicron aerosol particles – measurements from the Atlantic Ocean. Open Access Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, 5 . p. 35. DOI 10.1525/elementa.225.

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Abstract

The export of organic matter from ocean to atmosphere represents a substantial carbon flux in the Earth system, yet the impact of environmental drivers on this transfer is not fully understood. This work presents dissolved and particulate organic carbon (DOC, POC) concentrations, their enrichment factors in the sea surface microlayer (SML), and equivalent measurements in marine aerosol particles across the Atlantic Ocean. DOC concentrations averaged 161 ± 139 μmol L–1 (n = 78) in bulk seawater and 225 ± 175 μmol L–1 (n = 79) in the SML; POC concentrations averaged 13 ± 11 μmol L–1 (n = 80) and 17 ± 10 μmol L–1 (n = 80), respectively. High DOC and POC enrichment factors were observed when samples had low concentrations, and lower enrichments when concentrations were high. The impacts of wind speed and chlorophyll-a levels on concentrations and enrichment of DOC and POC in seawater were insignificant. In ambient submicron marine aerosol particles the concentration of water-soluble organic carbon was approximately 0.2 μg m–3. Water-insoluble organic carbon concentrations varied between 0.01 and 0.9 μg m–3, with highest concentrations observed when chlorophyll-a concentrations were high. Concerted measurements of bulk seawater, the SML and aerosol particles enabled calculation of enrichment factors of organic carbon in submicron marine ambient aerosols, which ranged from 103 to 104 during periods of low chlorophyll-a concentrations and up to 105 when chlorophyll-a levels were high. The results suggest that elevated local biological activity enhances the enrichment of marine-sourced organic carbon on aerosol particles. However, implementation of the results in source functions based on wind speed and chlorophyll-a concentrations underestimated the organic fraction at low biological activity by about 30%. There may be additional atmospheric and oceanic parameters to consider for accurately predicting organic fractions on aerosol particles.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: organic carbon; sea surface microlayer; marine aerosol particles; enrichment factor; source function; chlorophyll-a; wind speed
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1525/elementa.225
ISSN: 2325-1026
Projects: SOPRAN, OCEANET
Expeditions/Models/Experiments:
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2017 10:47
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 10:47
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/40876

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