Characterization of the South Atlantic marine boundary layer aerosol using an Aerodyne Aerosol Mass Spectrometer
1Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Particle Chemistry Department, Mainz, Germany
2University of Mainz, Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Mainz, Germany
3University of Mainz, Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
Abstract. Measurements of the submicron fraction of the atmospheric aerosol in the marine boundary layer were performed from January to March 2007 (Southern Hemisphere summer) onboard the French research vessel Marion Dufresne in the Southern Atlantic and Indian Ocean (20° S–60° S, 70° W–60° E). For chemical composition measurements an Aerodyne High-Resolution-Time-of-Flight AMS was used to measure mass concentrations and species-resolved size distributions of non-refractory aerosol components in the submicron range.
Within the "standard" AMS compounds (ammonium, chloride, nitrate, sulfate, organics) "sulfate" is the dominating species in the marine boundary layer reaching concentrations between 50 ng m−3 and 3 μg m−3. Furthermore, what is seen as "sulfate" by the AMS seems to be mostly sulfuric acid. Another sulfur containing species that can ubiquitously be found in marine environments is methanesulfonic acid (MSA). Since MSA has not been directly measured before with an AMS, and is not part of the standard AMS analysis, laboratory experiments needed to be performed in order to be able to identify it within the AMS raw data and to extract mass concentrations for MSA from the field measurements. To identify characteristic air masses and their source regions backwards trajectories were used and averaged concentrations for AMS standard compounds were calculated for each air mass type. Sulfate mass size distributions were measured for these periods showing a distinct difference between oceanic air masses and those from African outflow. While the peak size in the mass distribution was roughly 250 nm in marine air masses it was shifted to 470 nm in African outflow air. Correlations between the mass concentrations of sulfate, organics and MSA were calculated which show a narrow correlation for MSA with sulfate/sulfuric acid coming from the ocean but not with continental sulfate.