Comparison of sources and nature of the tropical aerosol with the summer high Arctic aerosol

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Leck, Caroline ; Bigg, E. Keith (2011)

Marine aerosol was collected in September 1998 and July 2005 on the upwind coast of an island at latitude 15°S, about 15 km downwind from the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and examined by electron microscopy. Exopolymer gels, aggregates of organic particles, marine micro-organisms and fragments of marine life formed a substantial part of the accumulation mode aerosol. Differences in transparency, firmness of outlines and shape of gels and the influence of organic vapours on them, suggested progressive physical and chemical changes with atmospheric residence time. The organic aggregate components had a size distribution remarkably close to that found in similar particles over the central Arctic Ocean peaking at diameters of 30–40 nm. Single components or small groups of these aggregates were found within at least 75% of particles resembling ammonium sulphate in appearance, indicating that aggregates fragmented in the atmosphere. Sea salt was not detected in particles <200 nm diameter unlike many observations showing it to be a major component, a result that was entirely consistent with the Arctic findings. The deduced sequence of changes to particles entering the atmosphere from the ocean is also very similar to that found in the Arctic, suggesting that it is a common pattern over the oceans. That conclusion would require modification of the parametrization of the marine aerosol used in climate models and of possible climate feedback effects.DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0889.2007.00315.x
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