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Prospects for simulating macromolecular surfactant chemistry at the ocean-atmosphere boundary

TitleProspects for simulating macromolecular surfactant chemistry at the ocean-atmosphere boundary
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsElliott S., Burrows S.M, Deal C., Liu X, Long M., Ogunro O., Russell LM, Wingenter O.
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Date Published2014/06
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1748-9326
Accession NumberWOS:000341825200014
Keywordsaerosol-particles; aqueous-solutions; condensation nucleus activity; global distribution; hygroscopic growth; lipid classes; macromolecules; marine; marine particles; organic-matter; single-parameter representation; surfactants; time-series

Biogenic lipids and polymers are surveyed for their ability to adsorb at the water-air interfaces associated with bubbles, marine microlayers and particles in the overlying boundary layer. Representative ocean biogeochemical regimes are defined in order to estimate local concentrations for the major macromolecular classes. Surfactant equilibria and maximum excess are then derived based on a network of model compounds. Relative local coverage and upward mass transport follow directly, and specific chemical structures can be placed into regional rank order. Lipids and denatured protein-like polymers dominate at the selected locations. The assigned monolayer phase states are variable, whether assessed along bubbles or at the atmospheric spray droplet perimeter. Since oceanic film compositions prove to be irregular, effects on gas and organic transfer are expected to exhibit geographic dependence as well. Moreover, the core arguments extend across the sea-air interface into aerosol-cloud systems. Fundamental nascent chemical properties including mass to carbon ratio and density depend strongly on the geochemical state of source waters. High surface pressures may suppress the Kelvin effect, and marine organic hygroscopicities are almost entirely unconstrained. While bubble adsorption provides a well-known means for transporting lipidic or proteinaceous material into sea spray, the same cannot be said of polysaccharides. Carbohydrates tend to be strongly hydrophilic so that their excess carbon mass is low despite stacked polymeric geometries. Since sugars are abundant in the marine aerosol, gel-based mechanisms may be required to achieve uplift. Uncertainties distill to a global scale dearth of information regarding two dimensional kinetics and equilibria. Nonetheless simulations are recommended, to initiate the process of systems level quantification.

Short TitleEnviron. Res. Lett.
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