Atmospheric inorganic nitrogen in marine aerosol and precipitation and its deposition to the North and South Pacific Oceans

Research paper by Jinyoung Jung, Hiroshi Furutani, Mitsuo Uematsu

Indexed on: 18 Feb '12Published on: 18 Feb '12Published in: Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry


Aerosol and rain samples were collected between 48°N and 55°S during the KH-08-2 and MR08-06 cruises conducted over the North and South Pacific Ocean in 2008 and 2009, to estimate dry and wet deposition fluxes of atmospheric inorganic nitrogen (N). Inorganic N in aerosols was composed of ~68% NH4+ and ~32% NO3– (median values for all data), with ~81% and ~45% of each species being present on fine mode aerosol, respectively. Concentrations of NH4+ and NO3− in rainwater ranged from 1.7–55 μmol L−1 and 0.16–18 μmol L−1, respectively, accounting for ~87% by NH4+ and ~13% by NO3− of total inorganic N (median values for all data). A significant correlation (r = 0.74, p < 0.05, n = 10) between NH4+ and methanesulfonic acid (MSA) was found in rainwater samples collected over the South Pacific, whereas no significant correlations were found between NH4+ and MSA in rainwater collected over the subarctic (r = 0.42, p > 0.1, n = 6) and subtropical (r = 0.33, p > 0.5, n = 6) western North Pacific, suggesting that emissions of ammonia (NH3) by marine biological activity from the ocean could become a significant source of NH4+ over the South Pacific. While NO3− was the dominant inorganic N species in dry deposition, inorganic N supplied to surface waters by wet deposition was predominantly by NH4+ (42–99% of the wet deposition fluxes for total inorganic N). We estimated mean total (dry + wet) deposition fluxes of atmospheric total inorganic N in the Pacific Ocean to be 32–64 μmol m−2 d−1, with 66–99% of this by wet deposition, indicating that wet deposition plays a more important role in the supply of atmospheric inorganic N than dry deposition.