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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-625
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-625
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  03 Jul 2020

03 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Large contribution of organics to condensational growth and formation of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) in remote marine boundary layer

Guangjie Zheng1,2, Chongai Kuang2, Janek Uin2, Thomas Watson2, and Jian Wang1,2 Guangjie Zheng et al.
  • 1Center for Aerosol Science and Engineering, Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA
  • 2Environmental and Climate Science Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York, USA

Abstract. Marine low clouds strongly influence global climate, and their radiative effects are particularly susceptible to the concentration of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). One major source of CCN is condensational growth of pre-CCN particles, and sulfate has long been considered the major condensing species in remote marine boundary layer. While some studies suggested that secondary organic species can contribute to the particle growth, its importance remains unclear. Here we present the first long-term observational evidence that organics play an important role in particle growth over remote oceans. To the contrary of traditional thinking, sulfate dominated condensational growth for only a small (∼18 %) fraction of the 62 observed growth events, even fewer than the organic-dominated events (24 %). During most (58 %) growth events, the major condensing species included both organics and sulfate. Potential precursors of the secondary organics are volatile organic compounds from ocean biological activities and those produced by the air-sea interfacial oxidation. Our results indicate that the condensation of secondary organics contributes strongly to the growth of pre-CCN particles, and thereby the CCN population over remote oceans.

Guangjie Zheng et al.

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Latest update: 11 Aug 2020
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Short summary
Condensational growth of Aitken mode particles is a major source of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) in remote marine boundary layer. It has been long thought that over remote oceans, condensation growth is dominated by sulfate that derives from ocean emitted dimethyl sulfide. In this study, we present the first long-term observational evidence that contrary to conventional thinking, organics play an even more important role than sulfate in particle growth over remote oceans throughout the year.
Condensational growth of Aitken mode particles is a major source of cloud condensation nuclei...
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