Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 8593-8606, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
23 Aug 2011
Quantification of the carbonaceous matter origin in submicron marine aerosol by 13C and 14C isotope analysis
D. Ceburnis1, A. Garbaras2, S. Szidat3, M. Rinaldi4, S. Fahrni3, N. Perron5,*, L. Wacker6, S. Leinert7, V. Remeikis2, M. C. Facchini4, A. S. H. Prevot5, S. G. Jennings1, M. Ramonet8, and C. D. O'Dowd1 1School of Physics and Centre for Climate {&} Air Pollution Studies, Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland
2Center for Physical Sciences and Technology, Institute of Physics, Vilnius, Lithuania
3Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry & Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Berne, Switzerland
4Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council, Bologna, Italy
5Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institut, Villigen, Switzerland
6Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology – ETH, Zurich, Switzerland
7Environmental Protection Agency of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
8Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environment (LSCE), Gif sur Yvette, France
*now at: Department of Nuclear Physics, University of Lund, Sweden
Abstract. Dual carbon isotope analysis of marine aerosol samples has been performed for the first time demonstrating a potential in organic matter apportionment between three principal sources: marine, terrestrial (non-fossil) and fossil fuel due to unique isotopic signatures. The results presented here, utilising combinations of dual carbon isotope analysis, provides conclusive evidence of a dominant biogenic organic fraction to organic aerosol over biologically active oceans. In particular, the NE Atlantic, which is also subjected to notable anthropogenic influences via pollution transport processes, was found to contain 80 % organic aerosol matter of biogenic origin directly linked to plankton emissions. The remaining carbonaceous aerosol was of terrestrial origin. By contrast, for polluted air advected out from Europe into the NE Atlantic, the source apportionment is 30 % marine biogenic, 40 % fossil fuel, and 30 % continental non-fossil fuel. The dominant marine organic aerosol source in the atmosphere has significant implications for climate change feedback processes.

Citation: Ceburnis, D., Garbaras, A., Szidat, S., Rinaldi, M., Fahrni, S., Perron, N., Wacker, L., Leinert, S., Remeikis, V., Facchini, M. C., Prevot, A. S. H., Jennings, S. G., Ramonet, M., and O'Dowd, C. D.: Quantification of the carbonaceous matter origin in submicron marine aerosol by 13C and 14C isotope analysis, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 8593-8606,, 2011.
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