U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Marine Organic Chemistry: Global Distribution and Surface Activity of Macromolecules in Offline Simulations
Published: October 13, 2015
Posted: May 19, 2016

Bubbles bursting at the ocean surface produce sea spray aerosol droplets. This process changes sea spray chemistry by transferring organic matter from ocean water into the marine boundary layer. These bubbles can contain several classes of organic compounds that are emitted and transported through the air. In the atmosphere, these particles can affect cloud properties, impacting the amount of sunlight clouds reflect away from Earth. A team of scientists, including U.S. Department of Energy researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, found that emitted aerosol particles containing long-chain carbon molecules can contribute significantly to the atmospheric particle population and affect concentrations of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). CCN, in turn, influence how clouds form and develop and impact the climate by modifying Earth’s albedo (reflectivity). The team developed an observational approach that accounts more completely for macromolecular chemical resolution within the sea and then utilizes the distributions to predict the organic mass composition in fine-mode sea spray aerosols. This new approach permits estimation of oceanic concentrations and bubble film surface coverages for several classes of organic compounds. Additionally, this research may provide useful mapped estimates of macromolecular distributions as a research guide for aerosol studies, such as the design of ship and aircraft-based experiments.

Reference: Ogunro, O. O., S. M. Burrows, S. Elliott, A. A. Frossard, F. Hoffman, R. T. Letscher, J. K. Moore, L. M. Russell, S. Wang, and O. W. Wingenter. 2015. “Global Distribution and Surface Activity of Macromolecules in Offline Simulations of Marine Organic Chemistry,” Biogeochemistry 126, 25-56. DOI: 10.1007/s10533-015-0136-x. (Reference link)

Contact: Dorothy Koch, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0105
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Atmospheric System Research

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)