Pyrogenic iron: The missing link to high iron solubility in aerosols

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Science Advances  01 May 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 5, eaau7671
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau7671


Atmospheric deposition is a source of potentially bioavailable iron (Fe) and thus can partially control biological productivity in large parts of the ocean. However, the explanation of observed high aerosol Fe solubility compared to that in soil particles is still controversial, as several hypotheses have been proposed to explain this observation. Here, a statistical analysis of aerosol Fe solubility estimated from four models and observations compiled from multiple field campaigns suggests that pyrogenic aerosols are the main sources of aerosols with high Fe solubility at low concentration. Additionally, we find that field data over the Southern Ocean display a much wider range in aerosol Fe solubility compared to the models, which indicate an underestimation of labile Fe concentrations by a factor of 15. These findings suggest that pyrogenic Fe-containing aerosols are important sources of atmospheric bioavailable Fe to the open ocean and crucial for predicting anthropogenic perturbations to marine productivity.

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