Iodine speciation in rain, snow and aerosols and possible transfer of organically bound iodine species from aerosol to droplet phases
1Institut für Umweltgeochemie, Neuenheimer Feld 236 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
2Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg-University Duesbergweg 10-14, D-55128 Mainz, Germany
3Bodensee-Wasserversorgung, Sipplingen Laboratory, Germany
*now at: Institut für Umweltgeologie, TU-Braunschweig, Germany
Abstract. Iodine oxides, such as iodate, should theoretically be the only stable sink species for iodine in the troposphere. However, field observations have increasingly found very little iodate and significant amounts of iodide and organically bound iodine in precipitation and aerosols. The aim of this study was to investigate iodine speciation, including the organic fraction, in rain, snow, and aerosols in an attempt to further clarify aqueous phase iodine chemistry. Diurnal aerosol samples were taken with a 5 stage cascade impactor and a virtual impactor (PM2.5) from the Mace Head research station, Ireland, during summer 2006. Rain was collected from Australia, New Zealand, Patagonia, Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland while snow was obtained from Greenland, Germany, Switzerland, and New Zealand. All samples were analysed for total iodine by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and speciation was determined by coupling an ion chromatography unit to the ICP-MS. Total iodine in the aerosols from Mace Head gave a median concentration of 50 pmol m−3 of which the majority was associated with the organic fraction (median day: 91±7%, night: 94±6% of total iodine). Iodide exhibited higher concentrations than iodate (median 5% vs. 0.8% of total iodine), and displayed significant enrichment during the day compared to the night. Interestingly, up to 5 additional, presumably anionic organic peaks were observed in all IC-ICP-MS chromatograms, composing up to 15% of the total iodine. Organically bound iodine was also the dominant fraction in all rain and snow samples, with lesser amounts of iodide and iodate (iodate was particularly low in snow). Two of the same unidentified peaks found in aerosols were also observed in precipitation from both Southern and Northern Hemispheres, suggesting that these species are transferred from the aerosol phase into precipitation. It is suggested that organo-I is formed by reactions between HOI and organic matter derived from the ocean surface layer. This may then photolytically decompose to give iodide and the unidentified species. The data in this study show that iodine oxides are the least abundant species in rain, snow, and aerosols and therefore considerably more effort is required on aqueous phase iodine chemistry for a holistic understanding of the iodine cycle.