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Small fraction of marine cloud condensation nuclei made up of sea spray aerosol
Quinn, P.K.; Coffman, D.J.; Johnson, J.E.; Upchurch, L.M.; Bates, T.S. (2017). Small fraction of marine cloud condensation nuclei made up of sea spray aerosol. Nature Geoscience 10(9): 674-679. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1038/ngeo3003
In: Nature Geoscience. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 1752-0894; e-ISSN 1752-0908, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Quinn, P.K.
  • Coffman, D.J.
  • Johnson, J.E.
  • Upchurch, L.M.
  • Bates, T.S.

Abstract
    Sea spray aerosols impact Earth’s radiation balance by directly scattering solar radiation. They also act as cloud condensation nuclei, thereby altering cloud properties including reflectivity, lifetime and extent. The influence of sea spray aerosol on cloud properties is thought to be particularly strong over remote ocean regions devoid of continental particles. Yet the contribution of sea spray aerosol to the population of cloud condensation nuclei in the marine boundary layer remains poorly understood. Here, using a lognormal-mode-fitting procedure, we isolate sea spray aerosols from measurements of particle size and abundance over the Pacific, Southern, Arctic and Atlantic oceans to determine the contribution of sea spray aerosol to the population of cloud condensation nuclei in the marine boundary layer. On a global basis, with the exception of the high southern latitudes, sea spray aerosol makes a contribution of less than 30% to the cloud condensation nuclei population for air that is supersaturated at 0.1 to 1.0%—the supersaturation range typical of marine boundary layer clouds. Instead, the cloud condensation nuclei population between 70° S and 80° N is composed primarily of non-sea-salt sulfate aerosols, due to large-scale meteorological features that result in entrainment of particles from the free troposphere.

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