Effect of organic compounds on cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) activity of sea spray aerosol produced by bubble bursting

Citation:
Moore, MJK, Furutani H, Roberts GC, Moffet RC, Gilles MK, Palenik B, Prather KA.  2011.  Effect of organic compounds on cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) activity of sea spray aerosol produced by bubble bursting. Atmospheric Environment. 45:7462-7469.

Date Published:

Dec

Abstract:

The ocean comprises over 70% of the surface of the earth and thus sea spray aerosols generated by wave processes represent a critical component of our climate system. The manner in which different complex oceanic mixtures of organic species and inorganic salts are distributed between individual particles in sea spray directly determines which particles will effectively form cloud nuclei. Controlled laboratory experiments were undertaken to better understand the full range of particle properties produced by bubbling solutions composed of simplistic model organic species, oleic acid and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), mixed with NaCl to more complex artificial seawater mixed with complex organic mixtures produced by common oceanic microorganisms. Simple mixtures of NaCl and oleic acid or SDS had a significant effect on CCN activity, even in relatively small amounts. However, an artificial seawater (ASW) solution containing microorganisms, the common cyanobacteria (Synechococcus) and DMS-producing green algae (Ostreococcus), produced particles containing similar to 34 times more carbon than the particles produced from pure ASW, yet no significant change was observed in the overall CCN activity. We hypothesize that these microorganisms produce diverse mixtures of organic species with a wide range of properties that produced offsetting effects, leading to no net change in the overall average measured hygroscopicity of the collection of sea spray particles. Based on these observations, changes in CCN activity due to "bloom" conditions would be predicted to lead to small changes in the average CCN activity, and thus have a negligible impact on cloud formation. However, each sea spray particle will contain a broad spectrum of different species, and thus further studies are needed of the CCN activity of individual sea spray particles and biological processes under a wide range of controllable conditions. (C) 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Notes:

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Website

DOI:

10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.04.034