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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  17 Feb 2020

17 Feb 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Concerted measurements of free amino acids at the Cape Verde Islands: High enrichments in submicron sea spray aerosol particles and cloud droplets

Nadja Triesch1, Manuela van Pinxteren1, Anja Engel2, and Hartmut Herrmann1 Nadja Triesch et al.
  • 1Leibniz-Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), Atmospheric Chemistry Department (ACD), Leipzig 04318, Germany
  • 2GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel 24105, Germany

Abstract. This study presents measurements of free amino acids (FAA) in the marine environment to elucidate their transfer from the ocean into the atmosphere to marine aerosol particles and to clouds. FAA were investigated in seawater (underline water (ULW), sea surface microlayer (SML)), in ambient marine size-segregated aerosol particle samples at two heights (ground based at the Cape Verde Atmospheric Observatory (CVAO) and at the Mt. Verde, 744 m height) and in cloud water using concerted measurements. The ∑FAA concentration in the SML varied between 0.13–3.64 µmol L−1, in the ULW between 0.01–1.10 µmol L−1 and a strong enrichment of ∑FAA in the SML (EFSML: 1.1–298.4, average of 57.2) was observed. In the submicron (0.05–1.2 µm) aerosol particles at the CVAO, the composition of FAA was more complex and higher atmospheric concentration of ∑FAA (up to 6.3 ng m−3) compared to the supermicron (1.2–10 µm) aerosol particles (maxima of 0.5 ng m−3) were observed. The total ∑FAA concentration (PM10) was between 1.8–6.8 ng m−3 and tended to increase during the campaign. Averaged ∑FAA concentrations on the aerosol particles at the Mt. Verde were lower (submicron: 1.5 ng m−3, supermicron: 1.2 ng m−3) compared to the CVAO. A similar percentage contribution of ∑FAA to dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the seawater (up to 7.6&tinsp;%) and to water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC) on the submicron aerosol particles (up to 5.3 %) indicated a related transfer process of FAA and DOC in the marine environment. The FAA were strongly enriched in the submicron aerosol particles (EFaer(∑FAA) 4∙102–3∙104, EFaer(WSOC) 2∙103–1∙104), possibly resulting from film droplet formation. The enrichment in supermicron aerosol particles was several orders of magnitude lower compared to supermicron size range with EFaer(∑FAA) 1∙101–2∙101, EFaer(WSOC) 3∙102–4∙102. A case study showed that several amino acids were transported from the ocean up to cloud level (e.g. aspartic acid, glutamic acid, proline) while other amino acids might not be transferred or quickly degraded (e.g. phenylalanine, tyrosine) or produced (e.g. GABA). The cloud water samples exhibited a similar composition of FAA compared to the SML but a strong variation of the atmospheric concentration of ∑FAA during the campaign (11.2–489.9 ng m−3). FAA in cloud water samples showed a strong enrichment by a factor of 4∙103 compared to the SML. The presence of high concentrations of FAA in general and of biologically produced FAA (aspartic acid) in particular together with the presence of inorganic marine tracers (sodium, methane sulfonic acid) demonstrates the influence of oceanic sources on marine clouds.

Nadja Triesch et al.

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Nadja Triesch et al.

Nadja Triesch et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
To investigate the sources of free amino acids (FAA) in the marine atmosphere, concerted measurements -the simultaneous investigation of seawater, size-segregated aerosol particles and cloud water- were performed at the Cape Verde islands. This field study describes the transfer of FAA as part of organic matter from the ocean into the atmosphere on molecular level. In the investigated marine environment, a high enrichment of FAA on submicron aerosol particles and in cloud droplets was observed.
To investigate the sources of free amino acids (FAA) in the marine atmosphere, concerted...