Received: 30 Jul 2015 – Accepted for review: 13 Aug 2015 – Discussion started: 01 Sep 2015
Abstract. The atmospheric supply of dust iron (Fe) plays a crucial role in the Earth's biogeochemical cycle and is of specific importance as a micronutrient in the marine environment. Observations show several orders of magnitude variability in the fractional solubility of Fe in dust aerosols, making it hard to assess the role of mineral dust for global ocean biogeochemical Fe cycle. In this study we compare the operational solubility of dust aerosol Fe associated with one of the flow-through leaching protocols to the results of the global 3-D chemical transport model GEOS-Chem. In the protocol aerosol Fe is defined soluble by first deionized water leaching of mineral dust through a 0.45 μm pore size membrane followed by acidification and storage of the leachate over a long period of time prior to the analysis. To assess the concentrations of soluble Fe inferred by this flow-through leaching protocol we are using in situ measurements of dust size distribution with the prescribed of 50 % fractional solubility of Fe in less than 0.45 μm sized dust particles collected in the leachate. In the model, the fractional solubility of Fe is either explicitly calculated using complex dust Fe dissolution module, or prescribed to be 1 and 4 %. Calculations show that the fractional solubility of Fe derived through the flow-through leaching is typically higher compared to the model results. The largest differences (>30 %) are predicted to occur farther away from the dust source regions, over the areas where sub-0.45 μm sized mineral dust particles contribute a larger fraction of the total dust mass. This study suggests that inconsistences in the operational definition of soluble Fe could contribute to the wide range of the fractional solubility of dust aerosol Fe reported in the literature.
How to cite. Meskhidze, N., Johnson, M. S., Hurley, D., and Dawson, K.: Influence of measurement uncertainties on soluble aerosol iron over the oceans, Biogeosciences Discuss., 12, 14377–14400, https://doi.org/10.5194/bgd-12-14377-2015, 2015.