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Atmospheric water-soluble organic nitrogen (WSON) in the eastern Mediterranean: origin and ramifications regarding marine productivity

Nehir, Munevver
Koçak, Mustafa
Aerosol and rain sampling in two size fractions was carried out at a rural site located on the coast of the eastern Mediterranean, Erdemli, Turkey (36 degrees 33'54 '' N, 34 degrees 15'18 '' E). A total of 674 aerosol samples in two size fractions (337 coarse, 337 fine) and 23 rain samples were collected between March 2014 and April 2015. Samples were analyzed for NO3-, NH4+ and ancillary water-soluble ions using ion chromatography and water-soluble total nitrogen (WSTN) by applying a high-temperature combustion method. The mean aerosol water-soluble organic nitrogen (WSON) was 23.8 +/- 16.3 nmol N m(-3), reaching a maximum of 79 nmol N m(-3), with about 66% being associated with coarse particles. The volume weighted mean (VWM) concentration of WSON in rain was 21.5 mu mol N L-1. The WSON contributed 37 and 29% to the WSTN in aerosol and rainwater, respectively. Aerosol WSON concentrations exhibited large temporal variation, mainly due to meteorology and the origin of air mass flow. The highest mean aerosol WSON concentration was observed in the summer and was attributed to the absence of rain and resuspension of cultivated soil in the region. The mean concentration of WSON during dust events (38.2 +/- 17.5 nmol N m(-3)) was 1.3 times higher than that of non-dust events (29.4 +/- 13.9 nmol N m(-3)).Source apportionment analysis demonstrated that WSON was originated from agricultural activities (43 %), secondary aerosol (20 %), nitrate (22 %), crustal material (10 %) and sea salt (5 %). The dry and wet depositions of WSON were equivalent and amounted to 36 % of the total atmospheric WSTN flux.