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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 09 Oct 2018

Research article | 09 Oct 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).

Phosphorus solubility in aerosol particles related to particle sources and atmospheric acidification in Asian continental outflow

Jinhui Shi1,2, Nan Wang1, Huiwang Gao1,2, Alex R. Baker3, Xiaohong Yao1,2, and Daizhou Zhang4 Jinhui Shi et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science and Ecology, Ocean University of China, Ministry of Education of China, Qingdao 266010, China
  • 2Laboratory for Marine Ecology and Environmental Science, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao 266237, China
  • 3Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK
  • 4Faculty of Environmental and Symbiotic Sciences, Prefectural University of Kumamoto, Kumamoto 862-8502, Japan

Abstract. The continent-to-ocean supply of phosphorus (P) in the soluble state, recognized as bioavailable P, via the atmosphere is hypothesized to be crucial to the biological cycle in offshore surface seawater. To investigate the solubility of P in aerosol particles moving towards the Northwestern Pacific from the Asian continent, we measured the total P (TP), total dissolved P (TDP) and dissolved inorganic P (DIP) in aerosols at Qingdao (36°06′N, 120°33′E), a coastal city in eastern China. The samples were collected in December 2012 and January 2013 (winter) and in March and April 2013 (spring), when the middle latitude westerly wind was prevailing. On average, P solubility, i.e., the ratio of TDP to TP, was 32.9±16.7% in winter and 21.3±9.8% in spring, and the TP concentrations in the two seasons were similar. This seasonal solubility difference is attributed to the aerosol sources containing the P. Particles in winter were predominantly anthropogenic particles from local and regional areas, and particles in spring were significantly influenced by natural dust from the arid and semiarid areas in the inland part of the continent. Moreover, acidification processes associated with the formation of sulfate and nitrate in the winter samples enhanced P solubility, suggesting that the P in anthropogenic particles was more susceptible to the production of acidic species than that in natural dust particles. There was a strong positive correlation between P solubility and relative humidity (RH). P solubility was usually less than 30% when RH was below 60%, even when the content of acidic species and/or anthropogenic particles in the aerosols was high, suggesting humidity had a critical role in the production of TDP. In addition, the proportion of DIP in TDP was high when the particles were predominantly anthropogenic, and the proportion of dissolved organic P (DOP; quantified as TDP-DIP) in TDP was high when the particles were dominated by natural dust. These results indicate that, as the contents of bioavailable P in Asian continent outflows are closely dependent on the aerosol particle origins, atmospheric acidic processes could convert P into a bioavailable state under certain meteorological conditions. Therefore, the recent severe air pollution over East Asia might have enhanced the input of bioavailable P to downwind marine areas.

Jinhui Shi et al.
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Jinhui Shi et al.
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Short summary
Water soluble phosphorus (P) in natural and anthropogenic mineral particles in Asian continent outflow is regarded one of the key nutrients for the biological cycle in the surface seawater of the North Pacific. Our observations at a Chinese coastal site revealed that P solubility was closely relevant to the particle origins, atmospheric acidic processes and ambient relative humidity. The recent severe air pollution over East Asia has likely enhanced bioavailable P input to the North Pacific.
Water soluble phosphorus (P) in natural and anthropogenic mineral particles in Asian continent...