Chemistry and Physics Faculty Articles

Title

Water-Soluble Organic and Nitrogen Levels in Cloud and Rainwater in a Background Marine Environment Under Influence of Different Air Masses

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-2008

Publication Title

Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry

Keywords

Saharan dust, Volcanic ash, Air masses, Fogwater, Nutrient flux, Elemental composition, Precipitation

ISSN

0167-7764

Volume

61

Issue/No.

2

First Page

85

Last Page

99

Abstract

Chemical characterization was performed on cloud and rainwater samples collected as part of the Rain In Cumulus over the Ocean Experiment (RICO). This experiment took place at a mountaintop site (East Peak) in Puerto Rico from December 2004 to March 2007 in order to determine water-soluble organic and nitrogen fractions in a marine background environment. For cloud water, similar average concentrations of 1.0 (±0.3) mg/L were found for total organic carbon (TOC) and total nitrogen (TN) and an average concentration of 0.8 (±0.2) mg/L was found for dissolved organic carbon (DOC). In rainwater, these concentrations were lower, ranging from 0.3 to 0.5 (±0.1) mg/L. Changes in the concentrations of these species were observed in periods under the influence of anthropogenic, African dust, and volcanic ash air masses. In these periods the concentrations of TOC, DOC, and TN were 2 to 4 times higher than in periods under the influence of trade winds. The insoluble organic material arriving during African dust events showed total carbon (TC) concentrations on averaging 1.5 mg/L for cloud water. The TC was composed mainly of organic carbon with polar compounds from low to high molecular weight (MW). The polar compounds with high MW were probably associated with pollution (e.g., fossil fuel combustion) from other regions. Crustal species (Al and Fe) dominated particles associated with dust episodes, confirming the soil origin. Our results suggested that a fraction (40–80%) of TOC and (<100%) of TN in Puerto Rican cloud/rainwater could be originated from long-range transport of dust, ash and/or pollution.

Comments

©Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Additional Comments

NSF grant #s: 0342548, DEB 0620910

ORCID ID

0000-0002-0566-0820

ResearcherID

V-6501-2018

DOI

10.1007/s10874-009-9125-6

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