Model simulations on the variability of particulate MSA to non-sea-salt sulfate ratio in the marine environment

Veli Matti Kerminen, Risto E. Hillamo, Anthony S. Wexler

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14 Scopus citations


A box model was constructed to investigate connections between the particulate MSA to non-sea-salt sulfate ratio, R, and DMS chemistry in a clean marine boundary layer. The simulations demonstrated that R varies widely with particle size, which must be taken into account when interpreting field measurements or comparing them with each other. In addition to DMS gas-phase chemistry, R in the submicron size range was shown to be sensitive to the factors dictating sulfate production via cloud processing, to the removal of SO2 from the boundary layer by dry deposition and sea-salt oxidation, to the entrainment of SO2 from the free troposphere, to the relative concentration of sub- and supermicron particles, and to meteorology. Three potential explanations for the increase of R toward high-latitudes during the summer were found: larger MSA yields from DMS oxidation at high latitudes, larger DMSO yields from DMS oxidation followed by the conversion of DMSO to MSA at high latitudes, or lower ambient H2O2 concentrations at high latitudes leading to less efficient sulfate production in clouds. Possible reasons for the large seasonal amplitude of R at mid and high latitudes include seasonal changes in the partitioning of DMS oxidation to the OH and NO3 initiated pathways, seasonal changes in the concentration of species participating the DMS-OH reaction pathway, or the existence of a SO2 source other than DMS oxidation in the marine boundary layer. Even small anthropogenic perturbations were shown to have a potential to alter the MSA to non-sea-salt sulfate ratio.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-370
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Atmospheric Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • DMS oxidation
  • Gas-to-particle conversion
  • Sulfur chemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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