22 Mar 2023
 | 22 Mar 2023

Morphological features and water solubility of iron in aged fine aerosol particles over the Indian Ocean

Sayako Ueda, Yoko Iwamoto, Fumikazu Taketani, Mingxu Liu, and Hitoshi Matsui

Abstract. Atmospheric transport of iron (Fe) in fine anthropogenic aerosol particles is an important route of soluble Fe supply to remote oceans from continental areas. To investigate Fe properties of aerosol particles over remote oceans, we analyzed atmospheric aerosol particles over the Indian Ocean during the research vessel Hakuho Maru KH-18-6 cruise. Aerosol particles collected using a cascade impactor were analyzed using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) with an energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry analyzer. The particle shape and composition on the sample stage of 0.3–0.8 μm aerodynamic diameter indicated that most particles collected north of the equator were composed mainly of ammonium sulfate. Regarding the particle number fraction, 0.6–3.0 % of particles contained Fe, which mostly co-existed with sulfate. Of those particles, Fe was found 26 % as metal spheres, often co-existing with Al or Si, regarded as fly ash, 14 % as mineral dust, and 7 % as iron oxide aggregations. Water-dialysis analyses of TEM samples indicated that Fe in spherical fly ash was almost entirely insoluble, whereas Fe in the other morphological-typed particles was partly (65 % Fe mass on average) soluble. Global model simulations mostly reproduce observed Fe mass concentrations in PM2.5 collected using a high-volume air sampler, including their north–south contrast during the cruise. In contrast, a marked difference was found between the simulated mass fractions of Fe mineral sources and the observed Fe types. For example, the model underestimated anthropogenic aluminosilicate Fe contained in matter such as fly ash from coal combustion. Our observations suggest that Fe in particles over remote ocean areas has multiple shapes and minerals, and further suggest that its solubility after aging processes differs depending on their morphological and mineral type. Proper consideration of such Fe types at their sources is necessary for accurate estimation of atmospheric Fe effects on marine biological activity.

Sayako Ueda 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-2023-389', Weijun Li, 09 Apr 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-389', Anonymous Referee #3, 05 May 2023

Sayako Ueda et al.


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Short summary
We investigated iron in atmospheric fine aerosol particles collected over the Indian Ocean during November 2018 shipborne observations. TEM analysis with water dialysis indicates that various types of iron, such as fly ash, iron oxide and mineral dust, coexist with ammonium sulfate, and that their solubility differs depending on the iron type. Using PM2.5 bulk samples and global model simulations, we elucidated their origins, aging, and implications for present simulations of iron.