Organic compounds undergo drastic variations in their chemical composition as they transfer from the ocean’s surface to atmospheric aerosols which act as nuclei to form clouds.
Aerosols, which are suspended fine solid particles or liquid droplets, play significant roles in triggering climate change by scattering or absorbing sunlight, while affecting the cloud formation and precipitation process by serving as nuclei to form clouds. Organic compounds account for up to 90 percent of the constituents of aerosols, and their composition is a pivotal factor in promoting or suppressing cloud formation.
Seawater covers about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface area. Organic compounds produced by microbial activities in surface seawater are released into the atmosphere by sea spray, which is thought to influence the constitution of aerosols. However, virtually no information about organic matter at the ocean-atmosphere boundary has been available due to measurement difficulties, making it hard to understand how organic matter in seawater affects the atmospheric composition.
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