Shipborne measurements of Antarctic submicron organic aerosols: an NMR perspective linking multiple sources and bioregions

Decesari, S.; Paglione, M.; Rinaldi, M.; Dall'Osto, M.; Simo, R.; Zanca, N.; Volpi, F.; Facchini, M. C.; Hoffmann, T.; Goetz, S.; Kampf, C. J.; O'Dowd, C.; Ceburnis, D.; Ovadnevaite, J.; Tagliavini, E.
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
The concentrations of submicron aerosol particles in maritime regions around Antarctica are influenced by the extent of sea ice. This effect is two ways: on one side, sea ice regulates the production of particles by sea spray (primary aerosols); on the other side, it hosts complex communities of organisms emitting precursors for secondary particles. Past studies documenting the chemical composition of fine aerosols in Antarctica indicate various potential primary and secondary sources active in coastal areas, in offshore marine regions, and in the sea ice itself. In particular, beside the well-known sources of organic and sulfur material originating from the oxidation of dimethylsulfide (DMS) produced by microalgae, recent findings obtained during the 2015 PEGASO cruise suggest that nitrogen-containing organic compounds are also produced by the microbiota colonizing the marginal ice zone. To complement the aerosol source apportionment performed using online mass spectrometric techniques, here we discuss the outcomes of offline spectroscopic analysis performed by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. In this study we (i) present the composition of ambient aerosols over open-ocean waters across bioregions, and compare it to the composition of (ii) seawater samples and (iii) bubble-bursting aerosols produced in a sea-spray chamber onboard the ship. Our results show that the process of aerosolization in the tank enriches primary marine particles with lipids and sugars while depleting them of free amino acids, providing an explanation for why amino acids occurred only at trace concentrations in the marine aerosol samples analyzed. The analysis of water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC) in ambient submicron aerosol samples shows distinct NMR fingerprints for three bioregions: (1) the open Southern Ocean pelagic environments, in which aerosols are enriched with primary marine particles containing lipids and sugars; (2) sympagic areas in the Weddell Sea, where secondary organic compounds, including methanesulfonic acid and semivolatile amines abound in the aerosol composition; and (3) terrestrial coastal areas, traced by sugars such as sucrose, emitted by land vegetation. Finally, a new biogenic chemical marker, creatinine, was identified in the samples from the Weddell Sea, providing another confirmation of the importance of nitrogen-containing metabolites in Antarctic polar aerosols.
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