Characterization of the atmospheric aerosol over the eastern equatorial Pacific
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Journal of geophysical research: C: oceans and atmospheres
, p. 5353-5364
University of Antwerp
By using a polyester sailboat as sampling platform, a series of duplicate aerosol samples was collected by cascade impactors on a trip from Panama to Tahiti in 1979. Elemental analysis mainly by particle-induced X ray emission (PIXE) indicated, in the samples collected between Panama and the Galapagos Islands, the presence of a substantial crustal component (∼0.4 μg/m3), fine Cu (∼0.4 ng/m3) and Zn (∼0.6 ng/m3), and excess fine S and K (∼100 and ∼2.4 ng/m3, respectively) in addition to the major sea salt elements. The crustal component and fine Cu and Zn are suggested to result from natural continental sources (i.e., eolian dust transport from the American continents and perhaps geothermal emissions). Samples collected west of the Galapagos Islands in the southern trades showed significantly lower concentrations for the nonseawater components. The average Si and Fe levels were as low as 4.8 and 3.3 ng/m3, corresponding to a maximum of 0.066 μg/m3 for an assumed mineral dust component, whereas heavy metal concentrations were all below the detection limits (typically ranging from 0.05 to 0.15 ng/m3 for V, Cr, Mn, Ni, Cu, Zn, and Se). Excess fine S decreased to a mean of 46 ng/m3, a level similar to those reported for other remote marine and continental locations. This all indicates that the marine atmosphere west of the Galapagos was little influenced by natural continental source processes or by anthropogenic emissions. Under these truly marine conditions, several concentration ratios of the major seawater elements were significantly different from those in bulk seawater. Ca, Sr, and S in >1 μm diameter particles were enriched relative to K and Na, with the enrichment being substantially more pronounced (up to 50% or higher) for l4-μm diameter particles than for particles >4 μm. Comparison of these data with a similar data set from samples collected over the Atlantic indicates that the departures from seawater composition are significantly larger for the Pacific. Differences in sea-to-air fractionation processes, probably involving binding of divalent cations to organic matter in the oceanic surface microlayer, are suggested as being responsible for these observations.