Research Article

Reactions at Interfaces As a Source of Sulfate Formation in Sea-Salt Particles

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Science  18 Jul 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5631, pp. 340-344
DOI: 10.1126/science.1085374

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Abstract

Understanding the formation of sulfate particles in the troposphere is critical because of their health effects and their direct and indirect effects on radiative forcing, and hence on climate. Laboratory studies of the chemical and physical changes in sodium chloride, the major component of sea-salt particles, show that sodium hydroxide is generated upon reaction of deliquesced sodium chloride particles with gas-phase hydroxide. The increase in alkalinity will lead to an increase in the uptake and oxidation of sulfur dioxide to sulfate in sea-salt particles. This chemistry is missing from current models but is consistent with a number of previously unexplained field study observations.

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