Articles | Volume 10, issue 9
06 May 2010
 | 06 May 2010

Chemical characterisation of iron in dust and biomass burning aerosols during AMMA-SOP0/DABEX: implication for iron solubility

R. Paris, K. V. Desboeufs, P. Formenti, S. Nava, and C. Chou

Abstract. The chemical composition and the soluble fraction were determined in aerosol samples collected during flights of AMMA-SOP0/DABEX campaign, which were conducted in the West African Sahel during dry season (2006). Two aerosol types are encountered in this period: dust particles (DUST) and biomass burning aerosol (BB). Chemical analysis and microscope observations showed that the iron (Fe) found in BB samples mainly originates from dust particles mostly internally mixed in the biomass burning layer. Chemical analyses of samples showed that the Fe solubility is lower in African dust samples than in biomass burning aerosols. Our data provide a first idea of the variability of iron dust solubility in the source region (0.1% and 3.4%). We found a relationship between iron solubility/clay content/source which partly confirms that the variability of iron solubility in this source region is related to the character and origin of the aerosols themselves. In the biomass burning samples, no relationship were found between Fe solubility and either the concentrations of acidic species (SO42−, NO3 or oxalate) or the content of carbon (TC, OC, BC). Therefore, we were unable to determine what processes are involved in this increase of iron solubility. In terms of supply of soluble Fe to oceanic ecosystems on a global scale, the higher solubility observed for Fe in biomass burning could imply an indirect source of Fe to marine ecosystems. But these aerosols are probably not significant because the Sahara is easily the dominant source of Fe to the Atlantic Ocean.

Final-revised paper