Observations of sharp oxalate reductions in stratocumulus clouds at variable altitudes: Organic acid and metal measurements during the 2011 E-PEACE campaign

Armin Sorooshian, Zhen Wang, Matthew M. Coggon, Haflidi H. Jonsson, Barbara Ervens

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This work examines organic acid and metal concentrations in northeastern Pacific Ocean stratocumulus cloudwater samples collected by the CIRPAS Twin Otter between July and August 2011. Correlations between a suite of various monocarboxylic and dicarboxylic acid concentrations are consistent with documented aqueous-phase mechanistic relationships leading up to oxalate production. Monocarboxylic and dicarboxylic acids exhibited contrasting spatial profiles reflecting their different sources; the former were higher in concentration near the continent due to fresh organic emissions. Concentrations of sea salt crustal tracer species, oxalate, and malonate were positively correlated with low-level wind speed suggesting that an important route for oxalate and malonate entry in cloudwater is via some combination of association with coarse particles and gaseous precursors emitted from the ocean surface. Three case flights show that oxalate (and no other organic acid) concentrations drop by nearly an order of magnitude relative to samples in the same vicinity. A consistent feature in these cases was an inverse relationship between oxalate and several metals (Fe, Mn, K, Na, Mg, Ca), especially Fe. By means of box model studies we show that the loss of oxalate due to the photolysis of iron oxalato complexes is likely a significant oxalate sink in the study region due to the ubiquity of oxalate precursors, clouds, and metal emissions from ships, the ocean, and continental sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7747-7756
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 16 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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