Special Issue "Atmospheric Nutrients: Sources, Processes and Impact on Terrestrial and Marine Ecosystems"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Biosphere/Hydrosphere/Land - Atmosphere Interactions".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Zongbo Shi Website E-Mail
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
Interests: atmospheric biogeochemistry; air pollution; climate change
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Maria Kanakidou Website E-Mail
Environmental Chemical Processes Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
Phone: +302810545033
Fax: + 30 2810 5451 66
Interests: atmospheric chemistry and climate changes due to human activities and gas/particle interactions; chemistry of the upper troposphere; human-driven changes in the oxidizing power of the atmosphere and the aerosol composition and their interactions with climate

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Every year, millions of tons of aerosol particles are transported to remote oceans and terrestrial ecosystems, such as the Southern Ocean and the Amazon forest. These particles, once deposited, provide the ecosystems with an external source of nutrients, such as iron, phosphorus, and nitrogen. This may stimulate primary production (a plant’s ability to produce complex organic compounds from water, carbon dioxide, and simple nutrients) and enhances carbon uptake and thus indirectly affects the climate.

Measurement and modelling studies in the past 30 years have clearly demonstrated the importance of atmospheric nutrients in global biogeochemical cycles and the Earth system. However, there are still major uncertainties in the flux of atmospheric nutrients to the ecosystems, particularly those from anthropogenic and biogenic sources. The impacts of atmospheric nutrients on ecosystems and the climate are also poorly understood.

In this Special Issue, we welcome manuscripts on laboratory, field and modelling studies of atmospheric nutrients on the following themes:

  • Sources and emissions of total and bioavailable atmospheric nutrients from both natural and anthropogenic sources.
  • Physical and chemical processes in the source emissions and the atmosphere that affect the production (e.g., solubilization of nutrients), transport and deposition of atmospheric nutrients.
  • Deposition of total and bioavailable atmospheric nutrients to the ecosystems, in particular those that are sensitive to external nutrient inputs.
  • Impacts of atmospheric nutrients on the ocean, terrestrial ecosystems and the climate.

Dr. Zongbo Shi
Prof. Dr. Maria Kanakidou
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • iron
  • phosphorus
  • nitrate
  • aerosol
  • productivity
  • earth system
  • oceans
  • terrestrial ecosystems

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Atmospheric Dry Deposition of Water-Soluble Nitrogen to the Subarctic Western North Pacific Ocean during Summer
Atmosphere 2019, 10(7), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10070351 - 26 Jun 2019
Abstract
To estimate dry deposition flux of atmospheric water-soluble nitrogen (N), including ammonium (NH4+), nitrate (NO3), and water-soluble organic nitrogen (WSON), aerosol samples were collected over the subarctic western North Pacific Ocean in the summer of 2016 aboard [...] Read more.
To estimate dry deposition flux of atmospheric water-soluble nitrogen (N), including ammonium (NH4+), nitrate (NO3), and water-soluble organic nitrogen (WSON), aerosol samples were collected over the subarctic western North Pacific Ocean in the summer of 2016 aboard the Korean icebreaker IBR/V Araon. During the cruise, concentrations of NH4+, NO3, and WSON in bulk (fine + coarse) aerosols ranged from 0.768 to 25.3, 0.199 to 5.94, and 0.116 to 14.7 nmol m−3, respectively. Contributions of NH4+, NO3, and WSON to total water-soluble N represented ~74%, ~17%, and ~9%, respectively. Water-soluble N concentrations showed a strong gradient from the East Asian continent to the subarctic western North Pacific Ocean, indicating that water-soluble N species were mainly derived from anthropogenic or terrestrial sources. During sea fog events, coarse mode NO3 was likely to be scavenged more efficiently by fog droplets than fine mode NO3; besides, WSON was detected only in fine mode, suggesting that there may have been a significant influence of sea fog on WSON, such as the photochemical conversion of WSON into inorganic N. Mean dry deposition flux for water-soluble total N (6.3 ± 9.4 µmol m−2 d−1) over the subarctic western North Pacific Ocean was estimated to support a minimum carbon uptake of 42 ± 62 µmol C m−2d−1 by using the Redfield C/N ratio of 6.625. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spring 2018 Asian Dust Events: Sources, Transportation, and Potential Biogeochemical Implications
Atmosphere 2019, 10(5), 276; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10050276 - 15 May 2019
Abstract
The input of aeolian mineral dust to the oceans is regarded as the major source in supplying bioavailable iron for phytoplankton growth. Severe dust events swept over East Asia during the 26 March to the 4 April 2018, decreasing air quality to hazardous [...] Read more.
The input of aeolian mineral dust to the oceans is regarded as the major source in supplying bioavailable iron for phytoplankton growth. Severe dust events swept over East Asia during the 26 March to the 4 April 2018, decreasing air quality to hazardous levels, with maximum PM10 mass concentrations above 3000 μg m−3 in northern China. Based on a comprehensive approach that combines multiple satellite measurements, ground observations, and model simulation, we revealed that two severe Asian dust events originating from the Taklimakan and Gobi deserts on 26 March and 1 April, were transported through northern China and the East/Japan Sea, to the North Pacific Ocean by westerly wind systems. Transportation pathways dominated by mineral dust aerosols were observed at altitudes of 2–7 km in the source regions, and then ascending to 3–10 km in the North Pacific Ocean, with relatively denser dust plumes within the second dust episode than there were during the first. Our results suggest that mineral dust emitted from the Taklimakan and Gobi deserts could increase ocean primary productivity in the North Pacific Ocean by up to ~50%, compared to average conditions. This emphasizes the potential importance of the deposition of Asian mineral dust over the North Pacific Ocean for enhancing the biological pump. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Element Concentrations (Ba, Mn, Pb, Sr, Zn) in the Bones and Teeth of Wild Ruminants from the West Carpathians and the Tian-Shan Mountains as Indicators of Air Pollution
Atmosphere 2019, 10(2), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10020064 - 02 Feb 2019
Abstract
Through analyzing the concentrations of selected heavy metals (Ba, Mn, Pb, Sr, Zn) in the bones and teeth of wild living and ecologically equivalent ruminants from the Tian-Shan (Capra sibirica and Ovis ammon polii) and the West Carpathians (Rupicapra rupicapra [...] Read more.
Through analyzing the concentrations of selected heavy metals (Ba, Mn, Pb, Sr, Zn) in the bones and teeth of wild living and ecologically equivalent ruminants from the Tian-Shan (Capra sibirica and Ovis ammon polii) and the West Carpathians (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica) we compared the environmental pollution levels of these two mountain ranges. The samples were analyzed by X-ray fluorescence. Significantly higher contents of Zn and Mn as well as a higher frequency of measurable occurrences of Mn, Ba, and Pb in samples from the West Carpathians confirmed the results of our previous study, that the West Carpathians are relatively more polluted by heavy metals than the Tian-Shan Mountains. The most probably contamination sources are mining and smelting as well as traffic emissions, which can reach remote mountain ranges through long distance atmospheric transport. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Nitrogen Deposition on Danish Nature
Atmosphere 2018, 9(11), 447; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9110447 - 14 Nov 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Eutrophication events are frequent in Inner Danish waters and critical loads are exceeded for much of the Danish sensitive terrestrial ecosystems. The Danish air quality monitoring program combines measurements and model calculations to benefit from the complementarities in data from these two sources. [...] Read more.
Eutrophication events are frequent in Inner Danish waters and critical loads are exceeded for much of the Danish sensitive terrestrial ecosystems. The Danish air quality monitoring program combines measurements and model calculations to benefit from the complementarities in data from these two sources. Measurements describe actual status, seasonal variation, and temporal trends. Model calculations extrapolate the results to the entire country and determine depositions to specific ecosystems. Measurements in 2016 show annual depositions between 7.5 and 11 kg N/ha to terrestrial ecosystems, and a load to marine waters of 5.3 kg N/ha. The deposition on Danish marine waters in 2016 was calculated to be 73,000 tons N with an average deposition of 6.9 kg N/ha. For terrestrial areas, the deposition was calculated to be 57,000 tons N with an average deposition of 13 kg N/ha. This is above critical loads for sensitive ecosystems. Long-term trends show a 35% decrease since 1990 in measured annual nitrogen deposition. At two out of four stations in nature areas, measured ammonia levels exceeded critical levels for lichens and mosses. Conclusions: Nitrogen loads and levels to Danish nature is decreasing, but critical loads and levels are still exceeded for sensitive ecosystems. Combining measurements and model calculations is a strong tool in monitoring. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Atmospheric Dry Deposition on External Nitrogen Supply and New Production in the Northern South China Sea
Atmosphere 2018, 9(10), 386; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9100386 - 03 Oct 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The South China Sea (SCS) is one of the world’s largest oligotrophic marginal seas. Increases in biomass and primary production in the surface layer of the northern SCS are affected by anthropogenic aerosol use among north Asian peoples. The seasonal variation of dry [...] Read more.
The South China Sea (SCS) is one of the world’s largest oligotrophic marginal seas. Increases in biomass and primary production in the surface layer of the northern SCS are affected by anthropogenic aerosol use among north Asian peoples. The seasonal variation of dry deposition and its contribution to new production in the ocean are vital to determining the effect that such dry deposition has on the biogeochemical cycle of the SCS. This study collected 240 samples of total suspended particles at Dongsha Island in the northern SCS from April 2007 to March 2009; the major ions and water-soluble nitrogen species in the samples were analyzed. The analysis results indicated that the concentration distributions of major water-soluble ions and nitrogen species in total suspended particles exhibited significant seasonal (source) variation. The north-east monsoon seasons (autumn to spring) brought relatively high concentrations because most air masses during this period arrived from the northern continental region. We found that the concentration of nitrogen species shows a latitude distribution, gradually decreasing from north to south. In addition, this study also discovered that the ratio of organic nitrogen to total dissolved or water-soluble nitrogen also varies in a similar manner, resulting in a concentration of <20% for locations north of 30° N and >30% for those south of 30° N. Aerosols at Dongsha Island mainly comprised sea salt; however, significant chloride depletion was observed during the north-east monsoon season. The molar ratio of NH4+ to non–sea salt (NSS) sulfate (nss-SO42−) was 0.8, indicating that the amount of artificially produced NH4+ in the region was insufficient for reaction with nss-SO42−. Therefore, NH4+ was mainly present in the form of NH4HSO4. The fluxes of water-soluble inorganic nitrogen (WSIN) and water-soluble organic nitrogen (WSON) within the region were 23 ± 13 and 27 ± 15 mmol m−2 y−1, respectively. The new production converted from atmospheric water-soluble nitrogen species in the northern SCS was estimated to be 0.52–0.81 mmol C m−2 d−1. This flux made about 5.6–8.7% (the global average was about 3.5%) contribution to the primary production (9.24 mmol C m−2 d−1) of the SCS surface water. This result indicates that the ocean’s external nitrogen supply, provided by anthropogenic aerosols, is vital for the biogeochemical cycle in Asian marginal seas, particularly the northern SCS. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Phytoplankton and Bacterial Response to Desert Dust Deposition in the Coastal Waters of the Southeastern Mediterranean Sea: A Four-Year In Situ Survey
Atmosphere 2018, 9(8), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9080305 - 03 Aug 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Atmospheric dust/aerosol deposition is an important source of external nutrients for the surface of the ocean. This study shows high-resolution observational data gathered in situ over a period of four years on bacterial and phytoplankton abundance and activity during typical background atmospheric conditions [...] Read more.
Atmospheric dust/aerosol deposition is an important source of external nutrients for the surface of the ocean. This study shows high-resolution observational data gathered in situ over a period of four years on bacterial and phytoplankton abundance and activity during typical background atmospheric conditions and during intense dust storm events in the low-nutrient, low-chlorophyll (LNLC) coastal waters of the southeastern Mediterranean Sea (SEMS). Chlorophyll a (an estimate for phytoplankton biomass) and bacterial abundance show moderate changes in response to dust deposition/events (−10% and +20%, respectively), while primary production, bacterial production, and N2 fixation rates were all significantly and positively affected by deposition (+25 to +40%; p < 0.05). The rapid changes in bacterial and/or phytoplankton rate parameters suggest that the released micro-/macronutrients from atmospheric deposition are tunneled directly in metabolic processes and, to a lesser extent, for biomass accumulation. The predicted expansion of LNLC areas in oceans in the future, and the projected increase in dust emission due to desertification, may affect the production of marine microbial communities in the surface of the ocean, yet only moderately affect their biomass or standing stock. Such alterations may impact carbon sequestration to the deep ocean. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Enhanced Iron Solubility at Low pH in Global Aerosols
Atmosphere 2018, 9(5), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9050201 - 22 May 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
The composition and oxidation state of aerosol iron were examined using synchrotron-based iron near-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy. By combining synchrotron-based techniques with water leachate analysis, impacts of oxidation state and mineralogy on aerosol iron solubility were assessed for samples taken from multiple locations [...] Read more.
The composition and oxidation state of aerosol iron were examined using synchrotron-based iron near-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy. By combining synchrotron-based techniques with water leachate analysis, impacts of oxidation state and mineralogy on aerosol iron solubility were assessed for samples taken from multiple locations in the Southern and the Atlantic Oceans; and also from Noida (India), Bermuda, and the Eastern Mediterranean (Crete). These sampling locations capture iron-containing aerosols from different source regions with varying marine, mineral dust, and anthropogenic influences. Across all locations, pH had the dominating influence on aerosol iron solubility. When aerosol samples were approximately neutral pH, iron solubility was on average 3.4%; when samples were below pH 4, the iron solubility increased to 35%. This observed aerosol iron solubility profile is consistent with thermodynamic predictions for the solubility of Fe(III) oxides, the major iron containing phase in the aerosol samples. Source regions and transport paths were also important factors affecting iron solubility, as samples originating from or passing over populated regions tended to contain more soluble iron. Although the acidity appears to affect aerosol iron solubility globally, a direct relationship for all samples is confounded by factors such as anthropogenic influence, aerosol buffer capacity, mineralogy and physical processes. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Impacts of Aerosol Copper on Marine Phytoplankton: A Review
Atmosphere 2019, 10(7), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10070414 - 18 Jul 2019
Abstract
Atmospheric deposition brings both nutrients and toxic components to the surface ocean, resulting in important impacts on phytoplankton. Field and lab studies have been done on the iron (Fe) fertilization on marine phytoplankton. However, studies on other trace metals are limited. Both bioassay [...] Read more.
Atmospheric deposition brings both nutrients and toxic components to the surface ocean, resulting in important impacts on phytoplankton. Field and lab studies have been done on the iron (Fe) fertilization on marine phytoplankton. However, studies on other trace metals are limited. Both bioassay experiments and field observations have suggested that aerosols with high copper (Cu) concentrations can negatively affect the primary productivity and change phytoplankton community structure. Note that with increasing human activities and global environmental changes (e.g., ocean acidification, warming, deoxygenation, etc.), the input of aerosol Cu could exceed toxicity thresholds at certain times or in some sensitive oceanic regions. Here, we provide a comprehensive review on aerosol Cu and marine phytoplankton studies by summarizing (1) physiological effects and toxicity thresholds of Cu to various phytoplankton taxa, (2) interactions between Cu and other metals and major nutrients, and (3) global distribution of surface seawater Cu and atmospheric Cu. We suggest that studies on aerosols, seawater chemistry, and phytoplankton should be integrated for understanding the impacts of aerosol Cu on marine phytoplankton, and thereafter the air–sea interaction via biogeochemical processes. Full article
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