A two-component parameterization of marine ice-nucleating particles based on seawater biology and sea spray aerosol measurements in the mediterranean sea

Jonathan V. Trueblood, Alessia Nicosia, Anja Engel, Birthe Zäncker, Matteo Rinaldi, Evelyn Freney, Melilotus Thyssen, Ingrid Obernosterer, Julie Dinasquet, Franco Belosi, Antonio Tovar-Sánchez, Araceli Rodriguez-Romero, Gianni Santachiara, Cécile Guieu, Karine Sellegri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ice-nucleating particles (INPs) have a large impact on the climate-relevant properties of clouds over the oceans. Studies have shown that sea spray aerosols (SSAs), produced upon bursting of bubbles at the ocean surface, can be an important source of marine INPs, particularly during periods of enhanced biological productivity. Recent mesocosm experiments using natural seawater spiked with nutrients have revealed that marine INPs are derived from two separate classes of organic matter in SSAs. Despite this finding, existing parameterizations for marine INP abundance are based solely on single variables such as SSA organic carbon (OC) or SSA surface area, which may mask specific trends in the separate classes of INP. The goal of this paper is to improve the understanding of the connection between ocean biology and marine INP abundance by reporting results from a field study and proposing a new parameterization of marine INPs that accounts for the two associated classes of organic matter. The PEACETIME cruise took place from 10 May to 10 June 2017 in the Mediterranean Sea. Throughout the cruise, INP concentrations in the surface microlayer r (INPSML) and in SSAs (INPSSA) produced using a plunging aquarium apparatus were continuously monitored while surface seawater (SSW) and SML biological properties were measured in parallel. The organic content of artificially generated SSAs was also evaluated. INPSML concentrations were found to be lower than those reported in the literature, presumably due to the oligotrophic nature of the Mediter ranean Sea. A dust wet deposition event that occurred during the cruise increased the INP concentrations measured in the SML by an order of magnitude, in line with increases in iron in the SML and bacterial abundances. Increases in INPSSA were not observed until after a delay of 3 days compared to increases in the SML and are likely a result of a strong in fluence of bulk SSW INPs for the temperatures investigated (T =-18 °C for SSAs, T =-15 °C for SSW). Results con firmed that INPSSA are divided into two classes depending on their associated organic matter. Here we find that warm (T ≥-22 °C) INPSSA concentrations are correlated with water soluble organic matter (WSOC) in the SSAs, but also with SSW parameters (particulate organic carbon, POCSSW and INPSSW,-16C) while cold INPSSA (T <-22 °C) are corre lated with SSA water-insoluble organic carbon (WIOC) and SML dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations. A re lationship was also found between cold INPSSA and SSW nano-and microphytoplankton cell abundances, indicating that these species might be a source of water-insoluble or ganic matter with surfactant properties and specific IN ac tivities. Guided by these results, we formulated and tested multiple parameterizations for the abundance of INPs in ma rine SSAs, including a single-component model based on POCSSW and a two-component model based on SSA WIOC and OC. We also altered a previous model based on OCSSA content to account for oligotrophy of the Mediterranean Sea. We then compared this formulation with the previous mod els. This new parameterization should improve attempts to incorporate marine INP emissions into numerical models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4659-4676
Number of pages18
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 25 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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