Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 6069-6084, 2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
21 Oct 2008
Iodine speciation in rain, snow and aerosols
B. S. Gilfedder1,*, S. C. Lai2, M. Petri3, H. Biester1,*, and T. Hoffmann2 1Institut für Umweltgeochemie, Neuenheimer Feld 236, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
2Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Duesbergweg 10–14, 55128 Mainz, Germany
3Bodensee-Wasserversorgung, Sipplingen Laboratory, Sipplingen, Germany
*now at: Institut für Umweltgeologie, TU-Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany
Abstract. Iodine oxides, such as iodate, should be the only thermodynamically stable sink species for iodine in the troposphere. However, field observations have increasingly found very little iodate and significant amounts of iodide and soluble organically bound iodine (SOI) in precipitation and aerosols. The aim of this study was to investigate iodine speciation, including the organic fraction, in rain, snow, and aerosols in an attempt to further clarify aqueous phase iodine chemistry. Diurnal aerosol samples were taken with a 5 stage cascade impactor and a virtual impactor (PM2.5) from the Mace Head research station, Ireland, during summer 2006. Rain was collected from Australia, New Zealand, Patagonia, Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland and snow was obtained from Greenland, Germany, Switzerland, and New Zealand. Aerosols were extracted from the filters with water and all samples were analysed for total soluble iodine (TSI) by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and iodine speciation was determined by coupling an ion chromatography unit to the ICP-MS. The median concentration of TSI in aerosols from Mace Head was 222 pmol m−3 (summed over all impactor stages) of which the majority was associated with the SOI fraction (median day: 90±4%, night: 94±2% of total iodine). Iodide exhibited higher concentrations than iodate (median 6% vs. 1.2% of total iodine), and displayed significant enrichment during the day compared to the night. Interestingly, up to 5 additional, presumably anionic iodo-organic peaks were observed in all IC-ICP-MS chromatograms, composing up to 15% of the TSI. Soluble organically bound iodine was also the dominant fraction in all rain and snow samples, with lesser amounts of iodide and iodate (iodate was particularly low in snow). Two of the same unidentified peaks found in aerosols were also observed in precipitation from both Southern and Northern Hemispheres. This suggests that these species are transferred from the aerosols into precipitation and that they have either a relatively long lifetime or are rapidly recycled. It is thought that SOI is formed by reactions between HOI or I2 and organic matter derived from the ocean surface layer. SOI may then photolytically decompose to yield iodide and the unidentified species. The data in this study show that iodine oxides are the least abundant species in rain, snow, and aerosols and therefore considerably more effort is required on aqueous phase iodine chemistry for a holistic understanding of the iodine cycle.

Citation: Gilfedder, B. S., Lai, S. C., Petri, M., Biester, H., and Hoffmann, T.: Iodine speciation in rain, snow and aerosols, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 6069-6084,, 2008.
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