National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

New Study Examines Links Between Sea Surface Carbon Pool and Sea Spray Aerosol

photo of the sea sweep instrument
February 28, 2014

In a paper published recently in Nature Geoscience PMEL Atmospheric Chemistry group, led by Dr. Patricia Quinn, and others show that the organic carbon content of sea spray aerosol (produced by breaking waves on the ocean surface) was similar in all regions sampled, regardless of the presence or absence of plankton blooms.  Previously, all large scale climate models have used chlorophyll-a, a proxy for plankton biomass, to predict the organic carbon content of sea spray aerosol. This study concludes that this method will lead to inaccurate predictions.

For more information on this study please visit the Nature Geoscience website to download the full paper.