Influence of the Sea Surface Microlayer on Oceanic Iodine Emissions

Liselotte Tinel*, Thomas J. Adams, Lloyd D.J. Hollis, Alice J.M. Bridger, Rosie J. Chance, Martyn W. Ward, Stephen M. Ball, Lucy J. Carpenter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The influence of organic compounds on iodine (I2) emissions from the O3 + I- reaction at the sea surface was investigated in laboratory and modeling studies using artificial solutions, natural subsurface seawater (SSW), and, for the first time, samples of the surface microlayer (SML). Gas-phase I2 was measured directly above the surface of liquid samples using broadband cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy. I2 emissions were consistently lower for artificial seawater (AS) than buffered potassium iodide (KI) solutions. Natural seawater samples showed the strongest reduction of I2 emissions compared to artificial solutions with equivalent [I-], and the reduction was more pronounced over SML than SSW. Emissions of volatile organic iodine (VOI) were highest from SML samples but remained a negligible fraction (<1%) of the total iodine flux. Therefore, reduced iodine emissions from natural seawater cannot be explained by chemical losses of I2 or hypoiodous acid (HOI), leading to VOI. An interfacial model explains this reduction by increased solubility of the I2 product in the organic-rich interfacial layer of seawater. Our results highlight the importance of using environmentally representative concentrations in studies of the O3 + I- reaction and demonstrate the influence the SML exerts on emissions of iodine and potentially other volatile species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13228-13237
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number20
Early online date25 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2020

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