12 Jan 2021

12 Jan 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Isotopic constraints on atmospheric sulfate formation pathways in the Mt. Everest region, southern Tibetan Plateau

Kun Wang1,2,8, Shohei Hattori2, Mang Lin2,3,11, Sakiko Ishino2,4, Becky Alexander5, Kazuki Kamezaki2,10, Naohiro Yoshida2,7,9, and Shichang Kang1,6,8 Kun Wang et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 2Department of Chemical Science and Engineering, School of Materials and Chemical Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259 Nagatsuta-cho, Midori-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 226-8502, Japan
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Isotope Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, CAS, Guangzhou 510640, China
  • 4National Institute of Polar Research, Research Organization of Information and Systems, Tokyo 190-8518, Japan
  • 5Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
  • 6CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • 7Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8551, Japan
  • 8University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • 9National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Koganei, Tokyo 184-8795, Japan
  • 10Faculty of Science and Technology, Sophia University, 7-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 102-8554, Japan
  • 11CAS Center for Excellence in Deep Earth Science, Guangzhou 510640, China

Abstract. As an important atmosphere constituent, sulfate aerosols exert profound impacts on climate, ecological environment, and human health. The Tibetan Plateau (TP), identified as the Third Pole, contains the largest land ice masses outside the poles and has attracted wide attention on its environment and climatic change. However, the mechanisms of sulfate formation in this specific region remain poorly characterized. Oxygen-17 anomaly (Δ17O) has been used as a probe to constrain the relative importance of different pathways leading to sulfate formation. Here, we report the Δ17O values in atmospheric sulfate collected at a remote site in the Mt. Everest region to decipher the possible formation mechanisms of sulfate in such a pristine environment. Throughout the sampling campaign (April–September 2018), the Δ17O in non-dust sulfate show an average of 1.7 ± 0.5 ‰ which is higher than most existing data in modern atmospheric sulfate. The seasonality of Δ17O in non-dust sulfate exhibits high values in the pre-monsoon and low values in the monsoon, opposite to the seasonality in Δ17O for both sulfate and nitrate (i.e., minima in warm season and maxima in cold season) observed from diverse geographic sites. This high Δ17O in non-dust sulfate found in this region clearly indicates the important role of the S(IV) + O3 pathway in atmospheric sulfate formation promoted by high cloud water pH condition. Overall, our study provides an observational constraint on atmospheric acidity in altering sulfate formation pathways particularly in dust-rich environments, and such identification of key processes provides an important basis for a better understanding of the sulfur cycle in the TP.

Kun Wang et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2020-1279', Anonymous Referee #1, 24 Jan 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Shohei Hattori, 02 Apr 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC1', Shohei Hattori, 02 Apr 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2020-1279', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Feb 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC2', Shohei Hattori, 02 Apr 2021

Kun Wang et al.


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Short summary
Sulfate aerosols play an important climatic role and exert adverse effects on the ecological environment and human health. In this study, we present the triple oxygen isotopic composition of sulfate from the Mt. Everest region, southern Tibetan Plateau, and deciphered the formation mechanisms of atmospheric sulfate in this pristine environment. The results indicate the important role of the S(IV) + O3 pathway in atmospheric sulfate formation promoted by high cloud water pH conditions.