One pathway by which the oceans influence climate is via the emission of sea spray that may subsequently influence cloud properties. Sea spray emissions are known to be dependent on atmospheric and oceanic physicochemical parameters, but the potential role of ocean biology on sea spray fluxes remains poorly characterized. Here we show a consistent significant relationship between seawater nanophytoplankton cell abundances and sea-spray derived Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN) number fluxes, generated using water from three different oceanic regions. This sensitivity of CCN number fluxes to ocean biology is currently unaccounted for in climate models yet our measurements indicate that it influences fluxes by more than one order of magnitude over the range of phytoplankton investigated.
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