New insights on organic matter in the marine oligotrophic atmosphere

van Pinxteren et al., (2023)


To understand the connection of marine aerosol particles to processes in the ocean as well as subsequent atmospheric processing, it is crucial to unravel the chemical composition of the organic aerosol content. In a recent study, led by Manuela van Pinxteren from Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research and published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, important marine organic compounds, namely amino acids, carbohydrates and lipids, were identified in the Atlantic Ocean, specifically in the aerosol particles and in the upper layer of the ocean. These compounds were strongly enriched in the atmosphere. Their enrichment was, however, not solely explained by sea-to-air transfer via physical processes (bubble bursting) but also via atmospheric in situ formation. The identified compounds constituted about 50% of the organic carbon on the aerosol particles and suggested a pronounced coupling between the ocean and atmosphere for oligotrophic regions.

Reference: van Pinxteren, M., Zeppenfeld, S., Fomba, K.W., et al. (2023). Amino acids, carbohydrates, and lipids in the tropical oligotrophic Atlantic Ocean: sea-to-air transfer and atmospheric in situ formation. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 23(11), 6571–6590. 94/acp-23-6571-2023

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