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Title: Surface and free tropospheric sources of methanesulfonic acid over the tropical Pacific Ocean

The production of sulfate aerosols through marine sulfur chemistry is critical to the climate system. However, not all sulfur compounds have been studied in detail. One such compound is methanesulfonic acid (MSA). In this study, we use a one-dimensional chemical transport model to analyze observed vertical profiles of gas-phase MSA during the Pacific Atmospheric Sulfur Experiment (PASE). The observed sharp decrease in MSA from the surface to 600m implies a surface source of 4.0×107 molecules/cm2/s. Evidence suggests that this source is photolytically enhanced. We also find that the observed large increase of MSA from the boundary layer into the lower free troposphere (1000-2000m) results mainly from the degassing of MSA from dehydrated aerosols. We estimate a source of 1.2×107 molecules/cm2/s through this pathway. This source of soluble MSA potentially provides an important precursor for new particle formation in the free troposphere over tropics, affecting the climate system through aerosol-cloud interactions.
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Geophysical Research Letters, 41(14):5239-5245
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States