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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-771
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-771
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 13 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 13 Sep 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.

Sea Spray Fluxes from the Southwest Coast of the United Kingdom – Dependence on Wind Speed and Wave Height

Mingxi Yang1, Sarah J. Norris2, Thomas G. Bell1, and Ian M. Brooks2 Mingxi Yang et al.
  • 1Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth, PL1 3D, UK
  • 2Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Abstract. Fluxes of sea spray aerosols were measured with the eddy covariance technique from the Penlee Point Atmospheric Observatory (PPAO) on the southwest coast of the United Kingdom over several months from 2015 to 2017. Two different fast-responding aerosol instruments were employed: an ultra-fine condensation particle counter (CPC) that detects aerosols with radius above ca. 1.5 nm, and a compact lightweight aerosol spectrometer probe (CLASP) that provides a size distribution between ca. 0.1 and 6 μm. The aerosol fluxes were almost always from sea to air, indicating sea spray emission. Fluxes from the CPC and from the CLASP (integrated over all sizes) were generally comparable, implying a reasonable closure in the aerosol number flux. Compared to most previous observations over the open ocean, at the same wind speed the mean sea spray number fluxes at PPAO are much greater. Significant wave height and wave Reynolds number explain more variability in sea spray fluxes than does wind speed, implying that enhanced wave breaking resulting from shoaling in shallow coastal waters is a dominant control on sea spray emission. Comparisons between two different wind sectors (open water vs. fetch-limited Plymouth Sound) and between two sets of sea states (growing vs. falling seas) further confirm the importance of wave characteristics on sea spray fluxes. These results suggest that spatial variability in wave characteristics need to be taken into account in predictions of coastal sea spray productions and also aerosol loading.

Mingxi Yang et al.
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Mingxi Yang et al.
Mingxi Yang et al.
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Short summary
This work reports direct measurements of sea spray fluxes from a coastal site in the UK, which are relevant for atmospheric chemistry as well as coastal air quality. Sea spray fluxes from this location are roughly an order of magnitude greater than over the open ocean at similar wind conditions, comparable to previous coastal measurements. Unlike previously open ocean measurements that are largely wind speed dependent, we find that sea spray fluxes near the coast depend more strongly on waves.
This work reports direct measurements of sea spray fluxes from a coastal site in the UK, which...
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