04 Oct 2023
 | 04 Oct 2023

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

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

Abstract. Aromatic acids are ubiquitous in seawater 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 seawater 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, 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 benzene dicarboxylic acids-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 represent a source of aromatic acids in the atmosphere. Vanillic acid had the largest global emission flux through SSA (962 tons yr−1), even though its concentration in seawater was lower. The calculated results indicated that the global annual flux of aromatic acids was not only affected by the concentration in seawater, 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.

Yaru Song et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2011', Anonymous Referee #1, 10 Nov 2023
  • CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2011', Bojiang Su, 15 Nov 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2011', Matthew Salter, 21 Nov 2023

Yaru Song et al.


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Short summary
Aromatic acids can be transferred from seawater to the atmosphere through bubble bursting. The air-sea transfer efficiency of aromatic acids was evaluated by simulating the SSA generation with a plunging jet. As a whole, the transfer capacity of aromatic acids may depend on their functional groups and on the bridging effect of cation, as well as their concentration in seawater, as these factors influence the global emission flux of aromatic acids via SSA.