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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
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Research article 27 Mar 2018

Research article | 27 Mar 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Source apportionment of the submicron organic aerosols over the Atlantic Ocean from 53° N to 53° S using HR-ToF-AMS

Shan Huang1,2,*, Zhijun Wu3,*, Laurent Poulain2, Manuela van Pinxteren2, Maik Merkel2, Denise Assmann2, Hartmut Herrmann2, and Alfred Wiedensohler2 Shan Huang et al.
  • 1Institute for Environmental and Climate Research, Jinan University, Guangzhou, 511443, China
  • 2Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, 04318, Germany
  • 3College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China
  • *These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. The marine aerosol is one of the most important natural aerosol systems and can significantly impact the global climate as well as biological cycle. A series of measurements during four open-ocean cruises in 2011 and 2012 over the Atlantic from 53°N to 53°S were conducted to reveal the physical and chemical properties of the marine boundary layer (MBL) aerosol and its seasonality. Chemical composition of the submicron particles was obtained using the on-line techniques High Resolution Time-of-Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS) as well as from offline high-volume PM1 filter samples with a sampling time of 24 hours. Our measurements show that the MBL aerosol particle mass is controlled by sulfate (50%), followed by organics (21%), sea salt (12%), ammonium (9%), Black Carbon (BC, 5%) and nitrate (3%). Only sulfate exhibits pronouncedly seasonal dependency, while no such trend was observed in other species. Source apportionment of the organic fraction was performed using Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF). Five factors were identified, including three marine sources and two non-marine sources. Marine sources are linked to primary production (19% of total organic aerosol (OA) mass), marine dimethylsulfide (DMS)-oxidation (16%), and amine-related secondary formation (16%). The other two OA components are attributed to continental outflow (19%) and aged ship exhausts – biomass burning emissions (30%). Our study indicates that, on average, non-marine sources nearly have the equal importance to the Atlantic aerosols comparing with the marine sources, respectively contributing 49% and 51% to the total OA mass loadings. The South Atlantic atmosphere is found to be less polluted than the North according to our source analysis. Detailed latitudinal distribution of OA sources showed that DMS oxidation contributes remarkably to the MBL aerosol over the South Atlantic during spring, while continental pollutants largely contaminate the marine atmosphere when near the west and middle Africa (15°N~15°S) as well as Europe. Based on our measurements, SOA produced from DMS oxidation over the Atlantic can be estimated as MSA mass concentration times a scaling factor 1.79 for spring season, which is derived from the strong correlation (R2>0.85) between MSA and DMS-oxidation OA component.

Shan Huang et al.
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Shan Huang et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The Atlantic aerosols are characterized based on high resolution time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS) measurements during 4 open-ocean cruises. This unique dataset provides the latitudinal distribution of source contributions of organic aerosols (OA) over the Atlantic Ocean, showing that marine sources could control the OA formation over the South Atlantic, while strong continental influence was found near the Africa and Europe.
The Atlantic aerosols are characterized based on high resolution time-of-flight aerosol mass...