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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Chemical Speciation of Sulfur in Marine Cloud Droplets and Particles: Analysis of Individual Particles from Marine Boundary Layer over the California Current


Detailed chemical speciation of the dry residue particles from individual cloud droplets and interstitial aerosol collected during the Marine Stratus Experiment (MASE) was performed using a combination of complementary microanalysis techniques. Techniques include computer controlled scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersed analysis of X-rays (CCSEM/EDX), time-of-flight secondary ionization mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS), and scanning transmission X-ray microscopy with near edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy (STXM/NEXAFS). Samples were collected at the ground site located in Point Reyes National Seashore, approximately 1 km from the coast. This manuscript focuses on the analysis of individual particles sampled from air masses that originated over the open ocean and then passed through the area of the California current located along the northern California coast. Based on composition, morphology, and chemical bonding information, two externally mixed, distinct classes of sulfur containing particles were identified: chemically modified (aged) sea salt particles and secondary formed sulfate particles. The results indicate substantial heterogeneous replacement of chloride by methanesulfonate (CH3SO3-) and non-sea salt sulfate (nss-SO42-) in sea-salt particles with characteristic ratios of nss-S/Na > 0.10 and CH3SO3-/nss-SO42-> 0.6.

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