Temperature and concentration affect particle size upon sublimation of saline ice: Implications for sea salt aerosol production in polar regions

Using an environmental scanning electron microscope, we quantified for the first time aerosol-sized salt particles formed during the sublimation of sea ice as a function of temperature and concentration. The sublimation temperature of the ice is a dominating physical factor to determine the size of the residua: Below −20°C, micron-sized pieces of salt emerge, whereas above the temperature large chunks of salt are detected. Another such aspect influencing the distribution of sizes in salt particles is the concentration: Micron-sized particles are observed exclusively at salinities below 3.5 psu, while below 0.085 psu particles with a median smaller than 6 μm arise from sea ices at any subzero temperature. Moreover, when a chunk of salt sublimes at less than −30°C to be dried and warmed later, a large number of sub-micron crystals will appear. We relate our findings to the production of the polar atmospheric sea salt aerosols.


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Authors: Závacká, Kamila, Neděla, Vilém, Olbert, Martin, Tihlaříková, Eva, Vetráková, Ľubica, Yang, Xin ORCIDORCID record for Xin Yang, Heger, Dominik

On this site: Xin Yang
28 April, 2022
Geophysical Research Letters / 49