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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.

  01 Jul 2020

01 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

North Atlantic marine organic aerosol characterized by novel offline thermal desorption mass spectrometry approach: polysaccharides, recalcitrant material, secondary organics

Michael J. Lawler1, Savannah L. Lewis2, Lynn M. Russell2, Patricia K. Quinn3, Timothy S. Bates4,3, Derek J. Coffman3, Lucia M. Upchurch4,3, and Eric S. Saltzman1 Michael J. Lawler et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine
  • 2Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
  • 3Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Seattle, WA
  • 4Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Abstract. The composition of organic compounds in marine aerosols and the relative contributions of primary and secondary organic compounds remain uncertain. We report results from a novel approach to characterize and quantify organic components of the marine aerosol. Size-segregated discrete aerosol filter samples were collected at sea in the North Atlantic from both ambient aerosol and artificially generated primary sea spray over four cruises timed to capture the seasonal phytoplankton bloom dynamics. Samples were analyzed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), extracted into water, and analyzed by offline thermal desorption chemical ionization mass spectrometry (TDCIMS) and ion chromatography (IC). A positive matrix factorization (PMF) analysis identified several characteristic aerosol components in the TDCIMS mass spectra. Among these is a “polysaccharide factor” representing about 10–30 % of the submicron organic aerosol mass. An unquantified “recalcitrant factor” of highly thermally stable organics showed significant correlation with FTIR-measured alcohol groups, consistently the main organic functional group associated with sea spray aerosol. We hypothesize that this factor represents recalcitrant dissolved organic matter in seawater. The recalcitrant factor showed little seasonal variability in its contribution to primary marine aerosol. The relative contribution of polysaccharides was highest in late spring and summer in the smallest particle size fraction characterized (< 180 nm).

Michael J. Lawler et al.

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Michael J. Lawler et al.

Michael J. Lawler et al.


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Latest update: 29 Sep 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This work describes new measurements of aerosol (particles) composition over the North Atlantic Ocean. It provides concentrations of polysaccharide material likely made from organisms in the surface ocean, and improves our understanding of the relative importance of such fresh biogenic material compared to older, more stable organic carbon in forming marine organic aerosol. We aim ultimately to understand the role that ocean biology plays in cloud formation in marine regions.
This work describes new measurements of aerosol (particles) composition over the North Atlantic...