Frost flowers and sea-salt aerosols over seasonal sea-ice areas in northwestern Greenland during winter–spring
Abstract. Sea salts and halogens in aerosols, frost flowers, and brine play an important role in atmospheric chemistry in polar regions. Simultaneous sampling and observations of frost flowers, brine, and aerosol particles were conducted around Siorapaluk in northwestern Greenland during December 2013 to March 2014. Results show that water-soluble frost flower and brine components are sea-salt components (e.g., Na+, Cl−, Mg2+, K+, Ca2+, Br−, and iodine). Concentration factors of sea-salt components of frost flowers and brine relative to seawater were 1.14–3.67. Sea-salt enrichment of Mg2+, K+, Ca2+, and halogens (Cl−, Br−, and iodine) in frost flowers is associated with sea-salt fractionation by precipitation of mirabilite and hydrohalite. High aerosol number concentrations correspond to the occurrence of higher abundance of sea-salt particles in both coarse and fine modes, and blowing snow and strong winds. Aerosol number concentrations, particularly in coarse mode, are increased considerably by release from the sea-ice surface under strong wind conditions. Sulfate depletion by sea-salt fractionation was found to be limited in sea-salt aerosols because of the presence of non-sea-salt (NSS) SO42−. However, coarse and fine sea-salt particles were found to be rich in Mg. Strong Mg enrichment might be more likely to proceed in fine sea-salt particles. Magnesium-rich sea-salt particles might be released from the surface of snow and slush layer (brine) on sea ice and frost flowers. Mirabilite-like and ikaite-like particles were identified only in aerosol samples collected near new sea-ice areas. From the field evidence and results from earlier studies, we propose and describe sea-salt cycles in seasonal sea-ice areas.