Molecular-level chemical composition of aerosol and its potential source tracking at Antarctic Peninsula

Jiyi Jang, Ki Tae Park, Young Jun Yoon, Sun Yong Ha, Eunho Jang, Kyung Hwa Cho, Ji Yi Lee, Jiyeon Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Marine organic aerosols play crucial roles in global climatic systems. However, their chemical properties and relationships with various potential organic sources still need clarification. This study employed high-resolution mass spectrometry to investigate the identity, origin, and transportation of organic aerosols in pristine Antarctic environments (King Sejong Station; 62.2°S, 58.8°W), where complex ocean-cryosphere-atmosphere interactions occur. First, we classified the aerosol samples into three clusters based on their air mass transport history. Next, we investigated the relationship between organic aerosols and their potential sources, including organic matter dissolved in the open ocean, coastal waters, and runoff waters. Cluster 1 (C1), in which the aerosols mainly originated from the open ocean area (i.e., pelagic zone-influenced), exhibited a higher abundance of lipid-like and protein-like organic aerosols than cluster 3 (C3), with ratios 1.8- and 1.6-times higher, respectively. In contrast, C3, characterized by longer air mass retention over sea ice and land areas (i.e., inshore-influenced), had higher lignin- and condensed aromatic structures (CAS)-like organic aerosols by 2.2- and 3.4-times compared to C1. Cluster 2 (C2) has intermediate characteristics between C1 and C3 concerning the chemical properties of the aerosols and air mass travel history. Notably, the chemical properties of the aerosols assigned to C1 are closely related to those of phytoplankton-derived organics enriched in the open ocean. In contrast, those of C3 are comparable to those of terrestrial plant-derived organics enriched in coastal and runoff waters. These findings help evaluate the source-dependent properties of organic aerosols in changing Antarctic environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117217
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 Elsevier Inc.


  • Antarctica
  • High-resolution mass spectrometry
  • Marine organic aerosol
  • Orbitrap-MS


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