The Open Ocean, Aerosols, and Every Other Breath You Take

Shelley et al., (2024)


This Eos article explains in accessible English how the atmospheric supply of trace metals to the ocean is linked to the oxygen we breathe. The solubility of trace metals contained in aerosols controls their bioavailability (and toxicity) to the marine biota and, ultimately, their impact on ecosystems and humans. A current lack of standardisation in laboratory leaching protocols and the associated nomenclature hampers accurate assessment of solubility (<1% -100% reported) for a number of aeolian metals. This data is subsequently used as a true value by modelling studies, but includes uncertainties which have not been quantified to date. The SCOR (Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research) working group 167 'RUSTED' is tackling this issue by undertaking an inter-comparison study of aerosol leaching procedures in view to develop standard operating procedures. Guidelines will be developed for the use of aerosol solubility data in modelling studies and the development of a comprehensive database for measurements is being planned.

Reference: Shelley, R., Perron, M.M.G., Hamilton, D.S. & Ito, A. (2024). The open ocean, aerosols, and every other breath you take. Eos, 105.

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