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Sea spray aerosol: Composition, formation, evolution and properties

EMSL Project ID


Here we propose to use the Department of Energy's EMSL facility to study the chemical composition and heterogeneous chemistry of sea spray aerosol which is a complex mixture of salt, biological and organic aerosol. Although a naturally occurring aerosol, its impacts are poorly understand. In this proposal, we plan to investigate, through laboratory studies, environmentally relevant, complex sea spray aerosol particles to better understand their processing, associated changes in their properties and the impact of these changes on global climate. In these studies, we will focus on sea spray aerosol which, as noted above, is much more than just sea salt but instead is composed of inorganic, organic and biological components mixed together in ways that are poorly understood. Here we propose to determine the impact of chloride depletion in sea spray aerosols due to heterogeneous reactions with organic and inorganic acids on aerosol structure, phase and properties. Through a well-designed, comprehensive study we will expand our understanding of this important class of atmospheric particles and how atmospheric processing influences global effect of aerosols on climate.

Project Details

Project type
Large-Scale EMSL Research
Start Date
End Date


Principal Investigator

Vicki Grassian
University of Iowa


Alexei Tivanski
University of Iowa

Team Members

Shunli Chen
The Xinjiang Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, CAS

Elizabeth Stone
University of Iowa

Li Fu
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

Hongfei Wang
Fudan University

Olga Laskina
University of Iowa

Related Publications

Cochran RE, O Laskina, J Trueblood, AD Estillore, HS Morris, T Jayarathne, CM Sultana, C Lee, P Lin, J Laskin, A Laskin, J Dowling, Z Qin, C Cappa, T Bertram, AV Tivanski, E Stone, K Prather, and VH Grassian. 2017. "Molecular Diversity of Sea Spray Aerosol Particles: Impact of Ocean Biology on Particle Composition and Hygroscopicity." Chem 2(5):655-667. doi:10.1016/j.chempr.2017.03.007
Cochran RE, O Laskina, T Jayarathne, A Laskin, J Laskin, P Lin, CM Sultana, C Lee, KA Moore, C Cappa, T Bertram, K Prather, VH Grassian, and E Stone. 2016. "Analysis of Organic Anionic Surfactants in Fine and Coarse Fractions of Freshly Emitted Sea Spray Aerosol." Environmental Science & Technology 50(5):2477-2486. doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b04053