On the fractional solubility of copper in marine aerosols: Toxicity of aeolian copper revisited

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Abstract

[1] Paytan et al. (2009) argue that the atmospheric deposition of aerosols lead to copper concentrations that are potentially toxic to marine phytoplankton in a large area of tropical and subtropical North Atlantic Ocean. A key assumption in their model is that all marine aerosols (mineral dust and anthropogenic particles) have a high (40%) fractional solubility of copper. Our data show that the fractional solubility of copper for Saharan dust over the Sargasso Sea and Bermuda is significantly lower (1–7%). In contrast, anthropogenic aerosols with non-Saharan sources have significantly higher values (10–100%). Hence, the potential Cu toxicity in the tropical and subtropical North Atlantic should be re-estimated, given the low fractional solubility of Cu in the Saharan dust that dominates aerosol deposition to this region.

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