Phosphorus solubility in aerosol particles related to particle sources and atmospheric acidification in Asian continental outflow

Jinhui Shi, Nan Wang, Huiwang Gao, Alexander Baker, Xiaohong Yao, Daizhou Zhang

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The continent-to-ocean supply of phosphorus (P) in the soluble state, recognized as bioavailable P, via the atmosphere is hypothesized to be crucial to the biological cycle in offshore surface seawater. To investigate the solubility of P 15 in aerosol particles moving towards the Northwestern Pacific from the Asian continent, we measured the total P (TP), total dissolved P (TDP) and dissolved inorganic P (DIP) in aerosols at Qingdao (36°06′ N, 120°33′ E), a coastal city in eastern China. The samples were collected in December 2012 and January 2013 (winter) and in March and April 2013 (spring), when the middle latitude westerly wind was prevailing. On average, P solubility, i.e., the ratio of TDP to TP, was 32.9  16.7 % in winter and 21.3  9.8 % in spring, and the TP concentrations in the two seasons were similar. This seasonal solubility difference 20 is attributed to the aerosol sources containing the P. Particles in winter were predominantly anthropogenic particles from local and regional areas, and particles in spring were significantly influenced by natural dust from the arid and semiarid areas in the inland part of the continent. Moreover, acidification processes associated with the formation of sulfate and nitrate in the winter samples enhanced P solubility, suggesting that the P in anthropogenic particles was more susceptible to the production of acidic species than that in natural dust particles. There was a strong positive correlation between P solubility and relative 25 humidity (RH). P solubility was usually less than 30 % when RH was below 60 %, even when the content of acidic species and/or anthropogenic particles in the aerosols was high, suggesting humidity had a critical role in the production of TDP. In addition, the proportion of DIP in TDP was high when the particles were predominantly anthropogenic, and the proportion of dissolved organic P (DOP; quantified as TDP-DIP) in TDP was high when the particles were dominated by natural dust. These results indicate that, as the contents of bioavailable P in Asian continent outflows are closely dependent on the aerosol particle 30 origins, atmospheric acidic processes could convert P into a bioavailable state under certain meteorological conditions. Therefore, the recent severe air pollution over East Asia might have enhanced the input of bioavailable P to downwind marine areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-860
Number of pages14
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2019

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