Atmospheric trace elements in aerosols observed over the Southern Ocean and coastal East Antarctica

Guojie Xu, Yuan Gao

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31 Scopus citations


Atmospheric aerosol samples were collected over the Southern Ocean (SO) and coastal East Antarctica (CEA) during the austral summer of 2010/11. Samples were analysed for trace elements, including Na, Mg, K, Al, Fe, Mn, Ni, Cd and Se, by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The mean atmospheric concentrations over the SO were 1100 ng m-3 for Na, 190 ng m-3 for Mg, 150 ng m-3 for Al, 14 ng m-3 for Fe, 0.46 ng m-3 for Mn and 0.25 ng m-3 for Se. Over CEA, the mean concentrations were 990 ng m-3 for Na, 180 ng m-3 for Mg, 190 ng m-3 for Al, 26 ng m-3 for Fe, 0.70 ng m-3 for Mn and 0.29 ng m-3 for Se. Particle size distributions, enrichment factors (EFs) and correlation analysis indicate that Na, Mg and K mainly came from the marine source, while Al, Fe and Mn were mainly from the crustal source, which also contributed to Mg and K over CEA. High EFs were associated with Ni, Cd and Se, suggesting likely contributions from mixed sources from the Antarctic continent, long-range transport, marine biogenic emissions and anthropogenic emissions. Sea-salt elements (Na, Mg, K) were mainly accumulated in the coarse mode, and crustal elements (Al, Fe, Mn) presented a bimodal size distribution pattern. Bioactive elements (Fe, Ni, Cd) were enriched in the fine mode, especially with samples collected over the SO, possibly affecting biogeochemical cycles in this oceanic region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number23973
JournalPolar Research
Issue number2014
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Environmental Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • Coastal East Antarctica
  • Size distribution
  • Sources
  • Southern ocean
  • Trace elements


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