S34 Impacts of Phytoplankton Blooms on Sea Spray Aerosol

Sunday, 6 January 2019
Hall 4 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Claudia M. Althoen, NOAA, Seattle, WA
Manuscript (294.5 kB)

Sea spray aerosol (SSA) is produced when air bubbles are entrained into the marine atmosphere by the breaking of waves, and plays a significant role in climate processes. SSA can affect the planet’s solar radiation budget, which in turn may alter cloud albedo and precipitation processes. SSA can also act as cloud condensation nuclei, providing a surface for water vapor to condense. These marine aerosol particles contain not only sea salt, but also various types of ions and organic matter. Phytoplankton release dissolved organic matter in the ocean, some of which is transferred into the atmosphere. The North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES) is a five-year project that collected marine and atmosphere data during each season in the North Atlantic to understand the key processes between the ocean and atmosphere and their implications on climate. Subsurface seawater samples were collected and analyzed for nutrients, phytoplankton and bacterial abundance, and other indicators of biological activity. Seawater sample composition was compared to freshly emitted SSA to look for linkages between the ocean and atmosphere. More specifically, the project looked at the fraction of organic carbon that made it from the ocean into the atmosphere. Determining the relationship, if any, between components of ocean surface waters and the atmosphere is crucial in gaining a better understanding of processes changing with our changing climate.
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