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Biopolymers form a gelatinous microlayer at the air-sea interface when Arctic sea ice melts
Galgani, L.; Piontek, J.; Engel, A. (2016). Biopolymers form a gelatinous microlayer at the air-sea interface when Arctic sea ice melts. NPG Scientific Reports 6(29465): 10 pp. hdl.handle.net/10.1038/srep29465
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Galgani, L.
  • Piontek, J.
  • Engel, A.

Abstract
    The interface layer between ocean and atmosphere is only a couple of micrometers thick but plays a critical role in climate relevant processes, including the air-sea exchange of gas and heat and the emission of primary organic aerosols (POA). Recent findings suggest that low-level cloud formation above the Arctic Ocean may be linked to organic polymers produced by marine microorganisms. Sea ice harbors high amounts of polymeric substances that are produced by cells growing within the sea-ice brine. Here, we report from a research cruise to the central Arctic Ocean in 2012. Our study shows that microbial polymers accumulate at the air-sea interface when the sea ice melts. Proteinaceous compounds represented the major fraction of polymers supporting the formation of a gelatinous interface microlayer and providing a hitherto unrecognized potential source of marine POA. Our study indicates a novel link between sea ice-ocean and atmosphere that may be sensitive to climate change.

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