Fractional solubility of aerosol iron : synthesis of a global-scale data set
Sholkovitz, Edward R.
Sedwick, Peter N.
Church, Thomas M.
Baker, Alexander R.
Powell, Claire F.
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Aerosol deposition provides a major input of the essential micronutrient iron to the open ocean. A critical parameter with respect to biological availability is the proportion of aerosol iron that enters the oceanic dissolved iron pool – the so-called fractional solubility of aerosol iron (%FeS). Here we present a global-scale compilation of total aerosol iron loading (FeT) and estimated %FeS values for ~1100 samples collected over the open ocean, the coastal ocean, and some continental sites, including a new data set from the Atlantic Ocean. Despite the wide variety of methods that have been used to define 'soluble' aerosol iron, our global-scale compilation reveals a remarkably consistent trend in the fractional solubility of aerosol iron as a function of total aerosol iron loading, with the great bulk of the data defining an hyperbolic trend. The hyperbolic trends that we observe for both global- and regional-scale data are adequately described by a simple two-component mixing model, whereby the fractional solubility of iron in the bulk aerosol reflects the conservative mixing of 'lithogenic' mineral dust (high FeT and low %FeS) and non-lithogenic 'combustion' aerosols (low FeT and high %FeS). An increasing body of empirical and model-based evidence points to anthropogenic fuel combustion as the major source of these non-lithogenic 'combustion' aerosols, implying that human emissions are a major determinant of the fractional solubility of iron in marine aerosols. The robust global-scale relationship between %FeS and FeT provides a simple heuristic method for estimating aerosol iron solubility at the regional to global scale.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2012. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier B.V. for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 89 (2012): 173-189, doi:10.1016/j.gca.2012.04.022.