African dust

Organic carbon, total nitrogen, and water-soluble ions in clouds from a tropical montane cloud forest in Puerto Rico

G.J. Reyes-Rodriguez, A. Gioda, O.L. Mayol-Bracero and J. Collett, Organic carbon, total nitrogen, and water-soluble ions in clouds from a tropical montane cloud forest in Puerto Rico, Atmospheric Environment 43 (2009), pp. 4171–4177. Abstract | Article | PDF (530 K) | View Record in Scopus | Cited By in Scopus (3)

Abstract: 
samples collected in a mountaintop site in Puerto Rico. Cloudwater samples showed average concentrations of 1.09 mg L1 of total organic carbon (TOC), of 0.85 mg L1 for dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and of and 1.25 mg L1 for total nitrogen (TN). Concentrations of organic nitrogen (ON) changed with the origin of the air mass. Changes in their concentrationswere observed during periods under the influence of African dust (AD). The ON/TN ratios were 0.26 for the clean and 0.35 for the AD periods. Average concentrations of all these species were similar to those found in remote environments with no anthropogenic contribution. In the AD period, for cloud water the concentrations of TOC were 4 times higher and TN were 3 times higher than during periods of clean air masses associated with the trade winds. These results suggest that a significant fraction of TOC and TN in cloud and rainwater is associated to airborne particulate matter present in dust. Functional groups were identified using proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy. This characterization led to the conclusion that water-soluble organic compounds in these samples are mainly aliphatic oxygenated compounds, with a small amount of aromatics. The ion chromatography results showed that the ionic specieswere predominantly of marine origin, for air masses with and without African dust influence, with cloud water concentrations of NO3  and NH4 þ much lower than from polluted areas in the US. An increase of such species as SO42, Cl, Mg2þ, Kþ and Ca2þ was seen when air masses originated from northwest Africa. The changes in the chemical composition and physical properties of clouds associated with these different types of aerosol particles could affect on cloud formation and processes.
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