Articles | Volume 11, issue 6
Research article
17 Mar 2011
Research article |  | 17 Mar 2011

Concurrent observations of atomic iodine, molecular iodine and ultrafine particles in a coastal environment

A. S. Mahajan, M. Sorribas, J. C. Gómez Martín, S. M. MacDonald, M. Gil, J. M. C. Plane, and A. Saiz-Lopez

Abstract. Simultaneous measurements of atomic iodine (I), molecular iodine (I2) and ultrafine particles were made at O Grove, Galicia (42.50° N, 8.87° W), on the northwest coast of Spain. The observations show a strong tidal signature, and indicate that the most probable sources of reactive iodine species are the exposed macroalgae during low tide. For the first time, I2 and I were concurrently measured revealing a high average I2/I ratio of ~32, which is higher than previously inferred by modelling studies. A 1-dimensional photochemical model is employed to simulate the observations showing that the high I2/I ratio can be reproduced in the presence of fast vertical mixing close to the surface, or using an extra chemical loss for I atoms with an unknown species. There is a lack of strong correlation between the I2/I and ultrafine particles, indicating that although they both have macroalgal sources, these were not at the same location. The model simulations also suggest that the source of the observed ultrafine particles is likely not very close to the measurement site, in order for the particles to form and grow, but the source for I and I2 must be local. Finally, the effect of NOx levels on iodine oxides, and the conditions under which iodine particle bursts will be suppressed, are explored.

Final-revised paper