16 Aug 2021

16 Aug 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Molecular-level evidence for marine aerosol nucleation of iodic acid and methanesulfonic acid

An Ning1, Ling Liu1, Lin Ji2, and Xiuhui Zhang1 An Ning et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Cluster Science, Ministry of Education of China, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
  • 2Department of Chemistry, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, China

Abstract. Both iodic acid (HIO3, IA) and methanesulfonic acid (CH3S(O)2OH, MSA) have been identified by field studies as important precursors of new particle formation (NPF) in marine areas. However, the mechanism of NPF in which IA and MSA are jointly involved is still unclear. Hence, we investigated the IA-MSA nucleation system under different atmospheric conditions and uncovered the corresponding nucleating mechanism at a molecular level for the first time using quantum chemical approach and Atmospheric Cluster Dynamics Code (ACDC). The findings showed that MSA can stabilize IA clusters via both hydrogen and halogen bonds. Moreover, the joint nucleation rate of IA-MSA system is significantly higher than that of IA self-nucleation, particularly in relatively cold marine regions with sparse IA and rich MSA. For the IA-MSA nucleation mechanism, in addition to self-nucleation of IA, the IA-MSA-involved clusters can also directly participate in the nucleation process, and their contribution is particularly prominent in the polar regions with rich MSA and sparse IA. The IA-MSA nucleation mechanism revealed in this work may help to elucidate some missing sources of marine NPF.

An Ning 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-2021-595', Anonymous Referee #1, 07 Sep 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Xiuhui Zhang, 24 Sep 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-595', Anonymous Referee #3, 27 Sep 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on acp-2021-595', Anonymous Referee #2, 28 Sep 2021

An Ning et al.


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Short summary
Iodic acid (IA) and methanesulfonic acid (MSA) were previously proved to be significant nucleation precursors in marine areas. However, the nucleation process jointly driven by IA and MSA remains unclear. We show the enhancement of MSA on the formation of IA clusters and reveal the corresponding nucleating mechanism at the molecular level. The IA-MSA nucleation can play an important role in marine aerosol formation, particularly in the cold polar regions.