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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 07 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 07 Oct 2019

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

Shipborne measurements of Antarctic submicron organic aerosols: an NMR perspective linking multiple sources and bioregions

Stefano Decesari1, Marco Paglione1, Matteo Rinaldi1, Manuel Dall'Osto2, Rafel Simó2, Nicola Zanca1, Francesca Volpi1, Maria Cristina Facchini1, Thorsten Hoffmann3, Sven Götz3, Christopher Johannes Kampf4, Colin O’Dowd5, Jurgita Ovadnevaite5, Darius Ceburnis5, and Emilio Tagliavini6 Stefano Decesari et al.
  • 1Institute of Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, National Research Council of Italy (CNR), I-40129, Bologna, Italy
  • 2Institut de Ciències del Mar, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), ES-08003, Barcelona, Spain
  • 3Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, 55128, Mainz, Germany
  • 4Institute of Organic Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, 55128, Mainz, Germany
  • 5School of Physics and C-CAPS, National University of Ireland Galway, H91 CF50, Galway, Ireland
  • 6Department of Chemistry, University of Bologna, 40126, Bologna, Italy

Abstract. The concentrations of submicron aerosol particles in maritime regions around Antarctica are influenced by the extent of sea ice. This effect is two way: on one side, sea ice regulates the production of particles by sea spray (primary aerosols) while, on the other side, it hosts complex communities of organisms emitting precursors for secondary particles. Past studies documenting the chemical composition of fine aerosols in Antarctica indicate various potential primary and secondary sources active in coastal areas, in offshore marine regions as well as in the sea ice itself. In particular, beside the well-known sources of organic and sulfur material originating from the oxidation of dimethyl-sulfide (DMS) produced by microalgae, recent findings obtained during the 2015 PEGASO cruise suggest that nitrogen-containing organic compounds are also produced by the microbiota colonizing the marginal ice zone. To complement the aerosol source apportionment performed using online mass spectrometric techniques, here we discuss the outcomes of offline spectroscopic analysis performed by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. In this study we (i) present the composition of ambient aerosols over open ocean waters across bioregions, and compared it to the composition of (ii) seawater samples and (iii) bubble bursting aerosols produced in a sea spray chamber on board the ship. Our results show that the process of aerosolization in the tank enriches primary marine particles with lipids and sugars while depleting them of free aminoacids, providing an explanation for why aminoacids occurred only at trace concentrations in the marine aerosol samples analyzed. The analysis of water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC) in ambient submicron aerosol samples shows distinct NMR fingerprints for three bioregions: 1) the open Southern Ocean pelagic environments, in which aerosols are enriched with primary marine particles containing lipids and sugars; 2) sympagic areas in the Weddell Sea where secondary organic compounds, including methanesulfonic acid and semivolatile amines abound in the aerosol composition; and 3) terrestrial coastal areas, traced by sugars such as sucrose, emitted by land vegetation. Finally, a new biogenic chemical marker, creatinine, was identified in the samples from the Weddell Sea, providing another confirmation of the importance of nitrogen-containing metabolites in Antarctic polar aerosols.

Stefano Decesari et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Atmospheric aerosols in Antarctica contribute to regulate the delicate budget of cloud formation and precipitations. Beside the well-known biogenic production of sulfur-containing aerosol components such as methane-sulfonate (MSA), the assessment of biological sources of organic particles in Antarctica remains active area of research. Here we present the results of aerosol organic characterization during a research cruise performed in the Weddell Sea and in the Southern Ocean in Jan–Feb 2015.
Atmospheric aerosols in Antarctica contribute to regulate the delicate budget of cloud formation...