Iodine observed in new particle formation events in the Arctic atmosphere during ACCACIA

J. D. Allan*, P. I. Williams, J. Najera, J. D. Whitehead, M. J. Flynn, J. W. Taylor, D. Liu, E. Darbyshire, L. J. Carpenter, R. Chance, S. J. Andrews, S. C. Hackenberg, G. McFiggans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accurately accounting for new particle formation (NPF) is crucial to our ability to predict aerosol number concentrations in many environments and thus cloud properties, which is in turn vital in simulating radiative transfer and climate. Here we present an analysis of NPF events observed in the Greenland Sea during the summertime as part of the Aerosol-Cloud Coupling And Climate Interactions in the Arctic (ACCACIA) project. While NPF events have been reported in the Arctic before, we were able, for the first time, to detect iodine in the growing particles using an Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS) during a persistent event in the region of the coastal sea-ice near Greenland. Given the potency of iodine as a nucleation precursor, the results imply that iodine was responsible for the initial NPF, a phenomenon that has been reported at lower latitudes and associated with molecular iodine emissions from coastal macroalgae. The initial source of iodine in this instance is not clear, but it was associated with air originating approximately 1 day previously over melting coastal sea-ice. These results show that atmospheric models must consider iodine as a source of new particles in addition to established precursors such as sulfur compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5599-5609
Number of pages11
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2015

Cite this