Composition and Chemistry
Tropospheric chemistry of internally mixed sea salt and organic particles: Surprising reactivity of NaCl with weak organic acids
Article first published online: 2 AUG 2012
©2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (1984–2012)
Volume 117, Issue D15, 16 August 2012
How to Cite
2012), Tropospheric chemistry of internally mixed sea salt and organic particles: Surprising reactivity of NaCl with weak organic acids, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D15302, doi:10.1029/2012JD017743., , , , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 2 AUG 2012
- Article first published online: 2 AUG 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 JUN 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 2 JUN 2012
- Manuscript Received: 6 MAR 2012
- particle analysis;
- sea salt
 Chemical imaging analysis of internally mixed sea salt/organic particles collected onboard the Department of Energy (DOE) G-1 aircraft during the 2010 Carbonaceous Aerosols and Radiative Effects Study (CARES) was performed using electron microscopy and X-ray spectro-microscopy. Substantial chloride depletion in aged sea salt particles was observed, which could not be explained by the known atmospheric reactivity of sea salt with inorganic nitric and sulfuric acids. We present field evidence that chloride components in sea salt particles may effectively react with organic acids releasing HCl gas to the atmosphere, leaving behind particles depleted in chloride and enriched in the corresponding organic salts. While formation of the organic salts products is not thermodynamically favored for bulk aqueous chemistry, these reactions in aerosol are driven by high volatility and evaporation of the HCl product from drying particles. These field observations were corroborated in a set of laboratory experiments where NaCl particles mixed with organic acids were found to be depleted in chloride. Combined together, the results indicate substantial chemical reactivity of sea salt particles with secondary organics that has been largely overlooked in the atmospheric aerosol chemistry. Atmospheric aging, and in particular hydration-dehydration cycles of mixed sea salt/organic particles, may result in formation of organic salts that will modify the acidity, hygroscopic, and optical properties of aged particles.