Probing the impact of a phytoplankton bloom on the chemistry of nascent sea spray aerosol using high-resolution mass spectrometry

Nikola Radoman, Sigurd Christiansen, Jana Johansson, Jeffrey Hawkes, Merete Bilde, Ian T. Cousins, Matthew E. Salter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Sea spray aerosol is the largest natural source of aerosol to Earth’s atmosphere with significant impacts on climate. Despite this, estimates of the impact of sea spray aerosol on Earth’s radiation budget are highly uncertain due to an overall lack of understanding of the physical and chemical factors controlling its composition. Critically, results from studies probing the importance of oceanic biological activity on the amount and type of organic matter present in nascent sea spray aerosol have been ambiguous. Some field studies have shown a relationship between the organic fraction of sea spray aerosol and oceanic primary productivity while others have reported no such relationships. Given this, we have probed the composition of seawater and nascent sea spray aerosol during a phytoplankton bloom in the North Atlantic using a novel liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry method. We observed that the composition of dissolved organic matter present in seawater changed as the phytoplankton bloom progressed over an 18 day period. Further, we observed changes to both the chemical composition of the organic matter present in seawater and the chemical composition of the organic matter present in the sea spray aerosol despite the organic matter mass fraction of the aerosol remaining unchanged. More specifically, we observed that the nascent sea spray aerosol became progressively more enriched in surface-active organic substances as the bloom progressed and that the sea spray aerosol had a distinct organic matter composition compared to the seawater. Thus, our work provides additional insight into the biological dependence of nascent sea spray aerosol composition.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science: Atmospheres
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2022

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