Trends in the solubility of iron in dust-dominated aerosols in the equatorial Atlantic trade winds: Importance of iron speciation and sources

John Michael Trapp, Frank J. Millero, Joseph M. Prospero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present measurements of the solubility of Fe(II) and Fe(III) extracted from bulk and sizefractionated African dust collected in summer trade winds at Barbados, West Indies. Iron solubilities typically ranged from 1% to 3%. Fe(III) dominates the iron solubility over the entire range of particle sizes. At mineral dust concentrations below about 5 ug/m3 Fe(II), believed to be largely derived from anthropogenic and biomass burning sources, becomes increasingly important. Samples containing large soluble iron fractions and high Fe(II)/Fe(III) ratios are associated with South Atlantic back trajectories; the gray coloration of the filters suggests that the source may be biomass burning in southern Africa. In general, much of the variability in Fe solubility is linked to Fe(II) concentration changes. Vanadium is often used as a tracer of anthropogenic impacts. Although many of our samples yielded V/Ti ratios much greater than average crustal abundances, we could find no relationship between the enrichment of V and Fe solubility. Our Fe solubility results are quite similar to those obtained by others despite the fact that the measurements were made in diverse ocean regions and the protocols used were quite different in all cases. This uniformity implies that the factors controlling aerosol iron solubility are largely inherent in the properties of the aerosols themselves and not the procedures used to extract the iron. Our results suggest that dust transport models that focus on the role of iron in ocean biogeochemistry must take into account aerosol origin in order to better model the solubility of iron.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberQ03014
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010

Keywords

  • Aerosols
  • African dust
  • Biomass burning aerosols
  • Iron solubility
  • Iron speciation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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