Marine and Terrestrial Organic Ice-Nucleating Particles in Pristine Marine to Continentally Influenced Northeast Atlantic Air Masses

Christina S. McCluskey, Jurgita Ovadnevaite, Matteo Rinaldi, James Atkinson, Franco Belosi, Darius Ceburnis, Salvatore Marullo, Thomas C. J. Hill, Ulrike Lohmann, Zamin A. Kanji, Colin O'Dowd, Sonia M. Kreidenweis, Paul J. DeMott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


Sea spray aerosol (SSA) generated by bubble bursting at the ocean surface is an important component of aerosol-cloud interactions over remote oceans, providing the atmosphere with ice-nucleating particles (INPs) or particles required for heterogeneous ice nucleation. Studies have shown that organic INPs are emitted during phytoplankton blooms, but changes in INP number concentrations (nINPs) due to ocean biological activity have not been directly demonstrated in natural SSA. In this study, a clean sector sampler was used to differentiate ice nucleation and composition of pristine SSA from terrestrial aerosol at the Mace Head Research Station in August 2015. Average nINPsactive at −15 °C (nINPs,−15 °C) were 0.0011 L−1, and large variability (up to a factor of 200) was observed for INPs active warmer than −22 °C. Highest nINPsin the clean sector occurred during a period of elevated marine organic aerosol from offshore biological activity (M1, nINPs,−15 °C = 0.0077 L−1). A peak in nINPswas also observed in terrestrial organic aerosol (T1, nINPs,−15 °C = 0.0076 L−1). The impacts of heating and hydrogen peroxide digestion on nINPsindicate that INPs at Mace Head Research Station were largely organic and that INPs observed during M1 and T1 were biological (i.e., protein containing). Complexities of predicting increases in nINPsdue to offshore biological activity are explored. A parameterization for pristine SSA INPs over the North Atlantic Ocean was developed, illustrating that SSA is associated with a factor of 1,000 fewer ice-nucleating sites per surface area of aerosol compared to mineral dust.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6196 - 6212
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

Cite this

McCluskey, C. S., Ovadnevaite, J., Rinaldi, M., Atkinson, J., Belosi, F., Ceburnis, D., Marullo, S., Hill, T. C. J., Lohmann, U., Kanji, Z. A., O'Dowd, C., Kreidenweis, S. M., & DeMott, P. J. (2018). Marine and Terrestrial Organic Ice-Nucleating Particles in Pristine Marine to Continentally Influenced Northeast Atlantic Air Masses. Journal of Geophysical Research, 123(11), 6196 - 6212.