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Keywords:

  • aerosol;
  • sea spray

[1] Reliable characterization of particles freshly emitted from the ocean surface requires a sampling method that is able to isolate those particles and prevent them from interacting with ambient gases and particles. Here we report measurements of particles directly emitted from the ocean using a newly developed in situ particle generator (Sea Sweep). The Sea Sweep was deployed alongside R/V Atlantis off the coast of California during May of 2010. Bubbles were generated 0.75 m below the ocean surface with stainless steel frits and swept into a hood/vacuum hose to feed a suite of aerosol instrumentation on board the ship. The number size distribution of the directly emitted, nascent particles had a dominant mode at 55–60 nm (dry diameter) and secondary modes at 30–40 nm and 200–300 nm. The nascent aerosol was not volatile at 230°C and was not enriched in SO4=, Ca++, K+, or Mg++above that found in surface seawater. The organic component of the nascent aerosol (7% of the dry submicrometer mass) volatilized at a temperature between 230 and 600°C. The submicrometer organic aerosol characterized by mass spectrometry was dominated by non-oxygenated hydrocarbons. The nascent aerosol at 50, 100, and 145 nm dry diameter behaved hygroscopically like an internal mixture of sea salt with a small organic component. The CCN/CN activation ratio for 60 nm Sea Sweep particles was near 1 for all supersaturations of 0.3 and higher indicating that all of the particles took up water and grew to cloud drop size. The nascent organic aerosol mass fraction did not increase in regions of higher surface seawater chlorophyll but did show a positive correlation with seawater dimethylsulfide (DMS).