Role of sea spray aerosol at the air–sea interface in transporting aromatic acids to the atmosphere

Song, Yaru; Li, Jianlong; Tsona Tchinda, Narcisse; Li, Kun; Du, Lin

Aromatic acids are ubiquitous in seawater (SW) and can be transported to the atmosphere via sea spray aerosol (SSA). Despite their importance in affecting the global radiative balance, the contribution of marine aromatic acids and their transport mechanisms through SSA remain unclear. Herein, the distribution of particle size and number concentration of SSA produced in SW containing nine different aromatic acids (i.e., benzoic acids, benzenedicarboxylic acids, hydroxybenzoic acids, vanillic acid, and syringic acid) was studied using a custom-made SSA simulation chamber; moreover, the enrichment of aromatic acids in SSA and their emission flux to the atmosphere were analyzed. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images clearly revealed that aromatic acids can be transferred to the nascent SSA. Interestingly, the morphology associated with benzenedicarboxylic-acid-coated particles showed that aromatic acids can promote the growth of other surfaces of sea salt, thus making the sea salt core spherical. Aromatic acids showed a significant enrichment behavior at the air–sea interface, which clearly indicated that SSA represents a source of aromatic acids in the atmosphere. Vanillic acid had the largest global emission flux through SSA (962 inline-formulat yr−1), even though its concentration in SW was lower. The calculated results indicated that the global annual flux of aromatic acids was affected not only by the concentration in SW, but also by their enrichment factor (EF). These data are critical for further quantifying the contribution of organic acids to the atmosphere via SSA, which may provide an estimate of the potential influence of the atmospheric feedbacks to the ocean carbon cycle.

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Song, Yaru / Li, Jianlong / Tsona Tchinda, Narcisse / et al: Role of sea spray aerosol at the air–sea interface in transporting aromatic acids to the atmosphere. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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