Airborne observations of dust aerosol over the North Atlantic Ocean during ACE 2: Indications for heterogeneous ozone destruction


  • Marian de Reus,

  • Frank Dentener,

  • Andreas Thomas,

  • Stephan Borrmann,

  • Johan Ström,

  • Jos Lelieveld


Aerosol size distribution measurements have been performed in the free troposphere during the Second Aerosol Characterization Experiment (ACE 2) near Tenerife, Canary Islands, in July 1997. During one measurement flight, on July 8, a uniform aerosol layer was encountered between 2.5 and 5.5 km altitude, characterized by a relatively low Aitken mode particle number concentration and high concentrations of accumulation and coarse mode particles, resulting in a relatively large aerosol surface area and mass, which is estimated to be about 400 μg m−3. Five-day backward trajectories indicate that the aerosol in this layer was mineral dust originating from arid regions on the North African continent. The dust layer was associated with reduced ozone mixing ratios. Model simulations have been performed with a photochemical box model including different heterogeneous removal reactions to study the interaction between gas phase chemistry and mineral aerosol. The best agreement between the observed and modeled ozone concentrations was obtained when heterogeneous removal of ozone and precursor gases on dust aerosol were taken into account. Heterogeneous O3 loss is estimated at 4 ppbv O3 per day. Although uncertainties concerning heterogeneous ozone removal remain, in particular related to the reactive uptake coefficient of O3, it is likely that the loss of O3 and precursor gases on mineral dust aerosol significantly reduces the O3 abundance in large-scale dust plumes.