Large contribution of organics to condensational growth and formation of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) in the remote marine boundary layer

Zheng, Guangjie; Kuang, Chongai; Uin, Janek; Watson, Thomas; Wang, Jian

Marine low clouds strongly influence global climate, and their radiative effects are particularly susceptible to the concentration of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). One major source of CCN is the condensational growth of pre-CCN particles, and sulfate has long been considered the major condensing species in the remote marine boundary layer. While some studies have suggested that secondary organic species can contribute to particle growth, its importance remains unclear. Here we present the first long-term observational evidence that organics play an important role in particle growth over remote oceans. To the contrary of traditional thinking, sulfate dominated condensational growth for only a small (inline-formula∼18 %) fraction of the 62 observed growth events, even fewer than the organic-dominated events (24 %). During most (58 %) growth events, the major condensing species included both organics and sulfate. Potential precursors of the secondary organics are volatile organic compounds from ocean biological activities and those produced by the air–sea interfacial oxidation. Our results indicate that the condensation of secondary organics contributes strongly to the growth of pre-CCN particles and thereby the CCN population over remote oceans.

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Zheng, Guangjie / Kuang, Chongai / Uin, Janek / et al: Large contribution of organics to condensational growth and formation of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) in the remote marine boundary layer. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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