Marine organic matter in the remote environment of the Cape Verde islands – an introduction and overview to the MarParCloud campaign

Manuela van Pinxteren, Khanneh Wadinga Fomba, Nadja Triesch, Christian Stolle, Oliver Wurl, Enno Bahlmann, Xianda Gong, Jens Voigtländer, Heike Wex, Tiera-Brandy Robinson, Stefan Barthel, Sebastian Zeppenfeld, Erik Hans Hoffmann, Marie Roveretto, Chunlin Li, Benoit Grosselin, Veronique Daële, Fabian Senf, Dominik van Pinxteren, Malena ManziNicolás Zabalegui, Sanja Frka, Blaženka Gašparović, R. Pereira, Tao Li, Liang Wen, Jiarong Li, Chao Zhu, Hui Chen, Jianmin Chen, Björn Fiedler, Wolf von Tümpling, Katie Alana Read, Shalini Punjabi, Alastair Charles Lewis, James Roland Hopkins, Lucy Jane Carpenter, Ilka Peeken, Tim Rixen, Detlef Schulz-Bull, María Eugenia Monge, Abdelwahid Mellouki, Christian George, Frank Stratmann, Hartmut Herrmann

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The project MarParCloud (Marine biological production, organic aerosol Particles and marine Clouds: a process chain) aims to improve our understanding of the genesis, modification and impact of marine organic matter (OM) from its biological production, to its export to marine aerosol particles and, finally, to its ability to act as ice-nucleating particles (INPs) and cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). A field campaign at the Cape Verde Atmospheric Observatory (CVAO) in the tropics in September-October 2017 formed the core of this project that was jointly performed with the project MARSU (MARine atmospheric Science Unravelled). A suite of chemical, physical, biological and meteorological techniques was applied, and comprehensive measurements of bulk water, the sea surface microlayer (SML), cloud water and ambient aerosol particles collected at a ground-based and a mountain station took place. Key variables comprised the chemical characterization of the atmospherically relevant OM components in the ocean and the atmosphere as well as measurements of INPs and CCN. Moreover, bacterial cell counts, mercury species and trace gases were analyzed. To interpret the results, the measurements were accompanied by various auxiliary parameters such as air mass back-trajectory analysis, vertical atmospheric profile analysis, cloud observations and pigment measurements in seawater. Additional modeling studies supported the experimental analysis. During the campaign, the CVAO exhibited marine air masses with low and partly moderate dust influences. The marine boundary layer was well mixed as indicated by an almost uniform particle number size distribution within the boundary layer. Lipid biomarkers were present in the aerosol particles in typical concentrations of marine background conditions. Accumulation-and coarse-mode particles served as CCN and were efficiently transferred to the cloud water. The ascent of ocean-derived compounds, such as sea salt and sugar-like compounds, to the cloud level, as derived from chemical analysis and atmospheric transfer modeling results, denotes an influence of marine emissions on cloud formation. Organic nitrogen compounds (free amino acids) were enriched by several orders of magnitude in submicron aerosol particles and in cloud water compared to seawater. However, INP measurements also indicated a significant contribution of other non-marine sources to the local INP concentration, as (biologically active) INPs were mainly present in supermicron aerosol particles that are not suggested to undergo strong enrichment during ocean-atmosphere transfer. In addition, the number of CCN at the supersaturation of 0.30 % was about 2.5 times higher during dust periods compared to marine periods. Lipids, sugar-like compounds, UV-absorbing (UV: ultraviolet) humic-like substances and low-molecularweight neutral components were important organic compounds in the seawater, and highly surface-active lipids were enriched within the SML. The selective enrichment of specific organic compounds in the SML needs to be studied in further detail and implemented in an OM source function for emission modeling to better understand transfer patterns, the mechanisms of marine OM transformation in the atmosphere and the role of additional sources. In summary, when looking at particulate mass, we see oceanic compounds transferred to the atmospheric aerosol and to the cloud level, while from a perspective of particle number concentrations, sea spray aerosol (i.e., primary marine aerosol) contributions to both CCN and INPs are rather limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6921-6951
Number of pages31
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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